Following Missouri’s 11th win of the season in the Citrus Bowl, ShowMeMizzou.com takes a position-by-position look back at the 2014 season.
The season review of the quarterback position is a review of Maty Mauk’s season. Missouri’s number two quarterback, red-shirt freshman Eddie Printz, played sparingly in 3 games for the Tigers in 2014, one as a holder, and he threw just one pass, which was an incompletion.
On the season, Mauk was 221-414-13 (53%) for 2648 yards (6.4 yards/attempt) and 25 TDs for a passer efficiency rating of 120.76. He also ran the football 108 times, mostly scrambles, for 373 net rushing yards and 2 TDs on the ground. He was sacked 23 times for -177 yards.
That’s the lowest single-season passer efficiency rating of any starting QB at Missouri since Brad Smith. Yet, Mauk’s Tigers went 11-3 on the season, in his first year as the full-time starter. That’s 3 more wins than any of the previous 3 Missouri QBs posted in their first full season as the starter. Is that a testament to the qualities the sophomore brought to the field? Or is the team around him just that good? Many consider wins and losses as the measure of a QB. But would better QB play have resulted in more wins?
To be fair, Mauk’s receivers dropped an inordinate number of passes. But they also made a lot of great catches. I think both are telling of what I’ve witnessed from Mauk, in that he’s not consistently accurate. He can be extremely accurate. But he also throws too many passes that are not on target. Perhaps most frustratingly, he throws passes that he shouldn’t, or he doesn’t throw passes that he should, which raises a couple of questions. Does he see the field? Does he accurately read the defense?
I think there’s times when Mauk doesn’t see the whole field. And, I think there’s times when he presupposes what the defense is going to do, sometimes accurately, sometimes inaccurately, and he throws the ball to the receiver he believes, rightly or wrongly, is going to be open. This practice has worked for him, but it has also worked against him.
One thing about Mauk, he likes to throw the football down the field. He’s not timid. Sometimes, he’s just wrong about where he’s throwing it.
If you subtract the sacks, Mauk averaged 6.5 yards/carry. So, he’s effective as a scrambler. But obviously, you can’t ignore the sacks, because it is a part of what you get with Mauk. Another thing you get with Mauk is a propensity to leave the pocket too early. So, as Mauk’s performance lurched and sputtered, so did the Missouri offense. When he was hot, the Tigers roared. When he was not, the Tigers often went backward, or worse. He was streaky, and definitely inconsistent.
Mauk did appear to make progress during the season in some areas. During the second half of the season, the coaching staff trusted Mauk to change plays at the line of scrimmage, and overall, he did a pretty good job in that regard. But he does appear to have trouble with making accurate reads, and with going through his progressions quickly enough. Consequently, he often holds the football too long, or forces it into coverage. When combined with his propensity for leaving an intact pocket too soon, his struggles with reading the defense and quickly advancing through his progressions leads to some missed opportunities for completions.
The second half of the season, Mauk appeared to struggle early in games, and then figure it out later in the game. On the one hand, it’s great to have a QB who gets better as the game goes along. On the other hand, Mauk will have to overcome his slow starts, and more consistently perform at a higher level for four quarters every week if he is going to take the Tigers to the top of the pyramid.
He’s certainly a better QB than he was a year ago, and I think he’s better than he was at the beginning of the season. But, there’s definitely still a lot of room for improvement.
Here’s what the Depth Chart looked like at QB for the 2014 season: