With Spring Football 2014 in the rear view mirror, ShowMeMizzou.com takes a look at Missouri's QB position, where 15 spring practices brought considerable clarity to the QB picture, although the Depth Chart remained virtually unchanged throughout the spring.
Sophomore Maty Mauk, who at halftime of the Black& Gold Scrimmage was named the Most Improved at his position, made a mockery of the well-broadcast "open competition" for the QB position this spring. Mauk essentially ran away from the competition, and it didn't take long for that to become evident. Furthermore, what also quickly became evident this spring regarding Mauk, is that he's Missouri Head Coach Gary Pinkel's choice as the Tigers' next starting QB, and he has been for quite some time.
But what's most exciting about Mauk's considerable improvement from a year ago, is that he not only raised the level of his play, but by improving his work ethic and study habits, and by correcting his throwing mechanics, he also raised his ceiling considerably. He can still get a lot better, but now, Mauk is getting the ball out closer to on time, and to the correct target, at a much higher rate. And, he's much more accurate, and with his more consistent, higher release point, he's begun to craft a full repertoire of passes, and promises to become even more accurate. He's also really improved his pocket presence, is much quieter, and appears to be more confident and relaxed in the pocket, and has significantly improved his footwork within the pocket.
In the scrimmages this spring, Mauk completed around 64% of his passes for right at 7 yards/pass attempt. And, he completed 73% of his passes in the finale. Those numbers are significant in that improving upon his 51% completion rate from last fall was considered a necessity for Mauk to become highly successful as the Missouri QB. They lend some statistical support to the observed improvements in Mauk's abilities as a passer.
"What happens when a quarterback gets experience, everything starts slowing down," explained Coach Pinkel, talking about Mauk. "And, that's where he is right now. He's starting to see things he didn't see a year ago."
In addition, Mauk has taken over the on-the-field leadership of the offense, and he appears to be comfortable and confident in the role of Missouri's starting QB.
Following the Black & Gold Scrimmage, Mauk showed poise outside the pocket, as he conducted interviews and simultaneously signed autographs.
This spring, 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.
"It's an open competition," Coach Hill had said at the beginning of the spring, as he echoed Coach Pinkel's pronouncement. "And, we're going to find out who the best guy is."
Well, it didn't take long, as Mauk quickly demonstrated that he was the clear-cut starter at the position. Then he just continued to separate himself even more.
Although Mauk has separated himself from Missouri's other QBs and he comes out of the spring as the established starting QB, the competition for the back-up job will continue into the fall.
The "open competition" has evolved into a battle for the back-up job, with junior Corbin Berkstresser and red-shirt freshman Eddie Printz apparently neck and neck at the conclusion of the spring. Seemingly left out of that race almost from the beginning, although he appeared to outperform both Berkstresser and Printz in the Black & Gold Scrimmage, was red-shirt freshman Trent Hosick.
Trent Hosick announced on Monday that he would not be at Missouri in the Fall. He will transfer at the end of the semester.
And, true freshman Marvin Zanders showed off his speed and elusiveness with the ball in his hands.
Post-Spring Depth Chart
7 Maty Mauk 6'0" 200 (So)
13 Corbin Berkstresser 6'3" 225 (J) OR
9 Eddie Printz 6'3" 215 (RSF)
11 Trent Hosick 6'2" 230 (RSF) (Transferring)
1 Marvin Zanders 6'2" 185 (F)
12 Colby Carpenter 6'2" 220 (RSF)