Not much will change after Tuesday’s announcement that Missouri starting quarterback Maty Mauk will miss Saturday’s game against South Carolina due to suspension, the two teams head coaches said Wednesday.
“Their other quarterback is a good player,” Steve Spurrier said. “They may be a little bit more of a drop-back type team with him instead of out of the pocket running around with their quarterback, but we’ll just have to see. The one they are going to play now is an excellent passer from the pocket, so who knows if may be he plays better than the guy before him? Time will tell.”
Missouri will start highly touted true freshman Drew Lock against the Gamecocks, Tigers head coach Gary Pinkel confirmed during his appearance on the SEC’s weekly media teleconference, and Pinkel predicted his offense wouldn’t look any different with Lock at the helm rather than Mauk.
Lock “will make some mistakes, but he’ll get out and compete,” Pinkel said. “I don’t think we’ll change. We ran the same plays with Drew we do with Maty. We’ll just do what we do.”
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Missouri is last in the SEC in offense with 328.3 yards per game. Mauk, a junior who has started since his freshman season, is 10th in the SEC in passing, completing 52 percent of his passes for 654 yards, six touchdowns and four interceptions. He was suspended along with a backup offensive lineman for an undisclosed violation of team rules.
“Maty is going through some personal things,” Pinkel said.
Lock is a former four-star recruit who has seen extensive action this season filling in for Mauk. Lock is 17th in the SEC in passing, completing 60 percent of his passes for 225 yards, one touchdown and one interception while filling in for Mauk in the first four games.
“I think he’s very excited about the opportunity,” Pinkel said. “He’s a very talented player, very thankful that he has had some experience. I think that’s going to help him. Generally in cases like this, first game for a starting quarterback, I am more concerned about the people around him than I am about him, the offensive line playing well, the receivers getting open, making some tough catches, trying to run the football better. That’s what will help a young quarterback.”
Lock “doesn’t have Maty’s foot speed” but is mobile enough to buy himself time in the pocket, Pinkel said.
“I have coached a lot of quarterbacks, some with great speed and some who don’t run well at all. He runs pretty good,” Pinkel said.
Missouri (3-1, 0-1 SEC) hosts the Gamecocks (2-2, 0-2 SEC) Saturday at noon, and both teams will be using true freshmen as their starting quarterbacks. South Carolina’s Lorenzo Nunez will make the second start of his career, and first in the SEC, on Saturday.
“It is interesting. Around the country I think more and more freshmen are playing,” Spurrier said. “I don’t know if guys get disgruntled and leave or they get hurt or they flunk out. I don’t know what is happening but a lot of us are playing young players. It is what it is and you try to give your quarterback a game plan where he knows what’s going on and then let him go play. As coaches, you just have to let them play and see what happens.”