SEC Media Days: Mizzou looking for a repeat trip to Dome

Rob Saye

HOOVER – Last year at this time, no one had Missouri in the fold to be the SEC East champs. This year, people are not overlooking Mizzou.

Things like this will happen when you head to Atlanta for the SEC Championship and finish the year with a Cotton Bowl win over Oklahoma State. Plus, people in Columbia and beyond have already gotten a look at sophomore quarterback Maty Mauk, who is replacing former starter James Franklin. Georgia fans got an eyeful of him last season, when he came in to relieve the injured James Franklin.

This season, he feels that the passing portion of his game has developed even more with his ability to tuck the ball and run. Mauk believes that not only his mechanics have improved, but also the other finer points of the passing game. One major factor in his development, could be the recent visit he made to the Manning Passing Academy.

“When I came back I felt different,” Mauk said. “I gained not just quarterbacking skills, but everything from huddle presence to leadership stuff. I gained all that I didn’t have and that kind of took me to the next level. I’ve already been working on it with some of the guys.”

Mauk threw for just under 1,100 yards in 2013 with 11 touchdowns and two interceptions. This was drink 13 games and four starts under center.

As mentioned about the Georgia game last season, that is an example in the quick growth of the now sophomore quarterback. His center Evan Boehm believes that was a huge confidence boost for him.

“The smartest thing coach (Mizzou offensive coordinator Josh) Henson ever did last year was make Maty run that first time out there against Georgia,” Boehm said. “As Maty was running down the field, he gets hit and he wasn’t expecting to go in so his helmet wasn’t tight enough. So he gets hit and his helmet pops off. So he grabs his face mask and pulls it back down before his helmet really pops off.”

The point that Boehm is making, is that Mauk showed the stage wasn’t too big for him on that Saturday in Athens. The Tigers ended up winning the game 41-26.

Gary Pinkel is a believer in Mauk and even went as far as to pay him the ultimate compliment from a coach to a player.

“He’s just got the ‘it’ factor,” Pinkel said. “Obviously you have to block and give him time to throw the football, establish our running game, make plays. It’s not all Maty Mauk. But I think he’s a player that has great, great potential.”

Mauk won’t have Dorial Green-Beckham to catch passes from him this season, after he was dismissed from the team for off-field issues.

Missouri still believes in their current crop of skill position players. Wide receivers Bud Sasser, Jimmie Hunt and Darius White were mentioned during SEC Media Days as players who could make an impact on this offense.

It gets started for Mizzou on Aug. 30 at home against South Dakota State. The Tigers will have tough games this season on the road against South Carolina, Florida, Texas A&M and Tennessee.


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