This spring at Missouri, there's a well-publicized 4-way competition at the quarterback position for the Tigers. Heading into the spring, the Depth Chart listed the top 4 competitors as follows:
7 Maty Mauk 6'0" 200 (So)
13 Corbin Berkstresser 6'3" 225 (J)
9 Eddie Printz 6'3" 215 (RSF)
11 Trent Hosick 6'2" 230 (RSF)
After the first two practices, ShowMeMizzou.com has heard from the key members of the coaching staff, and a couple of the competitors, in taking a very early look at this 4-way QB competition.
Missouri Head Coach Gary Pinkel weighed in:
"It's all about competition," explained Coach Pinkel. "You know, (Maty Mauk) played a third of the season (last year), and he did very, very well. We all know that. But, it's still about competition. He's the starter right now."
Mauk talked about his approach to the competition.
"I'm approaching (the QB competition) like I'm number five," said Mauk. "I'm going to bust my butt every second of every day until I am at the top. I mean, I'm going to compete every day. I'm going to bring one-hundred-and-ten percent, so everybody's got to be ready………………………………………. It's a competition. That's why we're here………………………………………. They say (I'm) the starter. (I'm) starting at the top at the beginning of the spring. I mean, (I) can say I'm number one, but I'm approaching it like I'm last. So, I'm going to compete every day, every drill, and be ready to go."
Mauk acknowledged that the game has slowed down for him since last season. But, he hasn't slowed down. He has the edge over the other three QBs in terms of his foot speed, which he best utilized last season while scrambling out of the pocket.
Missouri Offensive Coordinator Josh Henson weighed in extensively on the QB competition. He began by talking about the difference in what he sees in Mauk from last year to this spring.
"I think right now, (Maty Mauk) is really comfortable with everything that he's doing," explained Coach Henson. "That's probably the biggest difference you see in him. He's real comfortable with his reads, and where he's going with the football."
Coach Henson talked about Corbin Berkstresser.
"I think Corbin has looked the best that he's looked since he's been at Mizzou," said Coach Henson. "I really think that he's doing some things well. I think he's real comfortable in what we're doing, in his reads and different things. I think he's done a real nice job so far."
"I just think Corbin has matured a lot," continued Coach Henson, comparing Berkstresser this spring to two years ago. "I think he's getting better as a quarterback. I think he's more comfortable back there………………………………………. I just feel a comfort coming from him that he didn't have before. You know, he was a young guy back then."
Coach Henson continued to talk about the quarterbacks.
"(Through two days), I think that Corbin and Trent (Hosick) really came out and they've improved," explained Coach Henson. "Those guys have both gotten a lot better. I think Eddie (Printz) has got a ton of potential! You know, he really spins the ball well! The ball comes off his hand well. To me, he's really exciting to watch! So, there's a lot of competition among the players. It's going to be interesting in how it turns out."
Coach Henson said that all four QBs are capable of running the Missouri offense, and in competition for the starting job.
"I feel comfortable with all (four) of those guys being able to do pretty much everything that we want to do with our quarterbacks," said Coach Henson. "One of the hardest things is just getting the reps with that many guys………………………………………… But I feel like all four guys are in competition for the starting job. I really do. I really do. And, we'll see where it goes."
Missouri Assistant Coach Andy Hill, who coaches the quarterback position, said that all four QBs are running the entire offense.
"They're all four doing the whole thing," said Coach Hill. "Absolutely! The (red-shirt freshmen) are doing good! I feel good about those guys. I mean, (Eddie and Trent) are serious about, you know, making plays, and they're sharp in the meetings. I think it's all good. I'm very impressed!"
"I feel comfortable running the entire offense," said Eddie Printz. "I mean, of course, I'm not a master, by any means. But I'm getting better every day. And, I'm excited! It's fun to get after it."
Coach Hill said that all four quarterbacks are competing for a starting job. But he admitted that it's a problem to get enough reps for everyone. Thus far, Mauk is taking reps with the number one offense, while Berkstresser is taking reps with the ones and the twos. Printz and Hosick are taking second and third-team reps. It appears that's likely to continue through next week. The staff will re-evaluate the situation during Spring Break, and the reps and the Depth Chart may be adjusted following the break.
Speaking of Corbin Berkstresser, Coach Hill said, "I think he's doing really well!"
"These four guys, I'm talking Maty, Corbin, Eddie, and Trent, those guys are all real dedicated workers," explained Coach Hill. "And, they're people that are doing extra stuff……………………………………………. I mean, I come in my office, and they're in their quarterback room watching video thirty minutes before our meeting starts, and stuff like that. During the off-season, I come in on a Saturday morning, and those guys are in there watching video………………………………………. I'm pretty impressed with all four of those guys. And really, to be good, you've got to be dedicated. And those four guys are."
Coach Hill said that whoever wins the QB job will have to be pretty good.
"I feel all four guys are playing well right now," explained Coach Hill. "And then, if a guy really steps above the other three, he should be pretty special, I think."
"We've got four great QBs competing," said Printz. "So, whoever gets the job is going to do it right. So, I'm excited to see who it is."
Coach Hill said that thus far, none of the four QBs has separated himself from the other three.
"They're all pretty good," said Coach Hill. "They're all pretty even. I'd call it a tight cluster."