Stats: Completed 129 of 263 passes (49.05%) for 1,332 yards with four touchdowns and eight interceptions. Also ran 52 times for 28 yards and one touchdown.
Analysis: If everything had gone according to plan, Lock would have spent his freshman season (and possibly sophomore season) as Maty Mauk’s backup, getting used to college football and gaining experience with a series here and there. Instead, Mauk’s off-the-field issues pushed Lock into the starting role before he was ready and the quarterback struggled. That experience should help Lock going into his sophomore season, as well as an offseason of working with new offensive coordinator Josh Heupel, but it’s fair to wonder how much better Lock will be in 2016.
Year: Redshirt sophomore
Stats: No statistics
Analysis: Zanders only saw a few snaps in his debut season after sitting out in 2014, but he appears to be in position to earn some playing time. He gives the Tigers a running threat at quarterback but can he establish himself enough passer to keep defenses honest? The Tigers need Lock to be better this season and need Zanders to be good enough to push him for playing time.
OTHERS TO WATCH
Analysis: Lowary was signed in February to bolster the quarterback depth going into spring practices and the pro-style passer was able to get reps behind Lock and Zanders. Lowary played last season at Long Beach City College and threw for 3,306 yards and 28 touchdowns against 13 interceptions. He’ll try to push Zanders for the backup spot, but it’s possible he could redshirt this season.
Year: True freshman
Analysis: Wilson, whose father Curtis played offensive line at Missouri and was a team captain in 1988, made a late switch from Boise State to commit and sign with the Tigers. He was a dual-threat QB during his high school career when he racked up nearly 10,000 total yards (8,751 passing, 1,145 rushing) and 137 touchdowns (120 passing, 17 rushing) over four seasons, including three years as a starter. He will likely redshirt this season but it’s possible he could overtake Lowary for the No. 3 spot on the depth chart.
The Tigers need Lock to be better this season and it would be surprising if he’s not. Of course, the way his freshman season went it wouldn’t be hard for him to perform. How well Lock performs will likely decide how good Missouri can be in 2016 and while it’s not necessarily fair to put that on one player that’s what it looks like going into the season. Lock and his young supporting cast went through their growing pains last fall and now we’ll see how much they gained from that experience. If Zanders is able to contribute as a running threat, that could go a long way toward taking some of the pressure off Lock and the passing game.
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