COLUMBIA, Mo. — The University of Missouri football team named sophomore Drew Lock as its starting quarterback on Monday afternoon, but coach Barry Odom also said redshirt sophomore Marvin Zanders will also play in the season opener.
Lock played in all 12 games a year ago as a true freshman and started the final eight games, valuable experience that helped him earn the No. 1 spot out of fall camp.
“We feel like Drew is experienced from last year,” Odom said. “His experience — it was a learning experience for him in a lot of those situations — has helped him to this point. He’s grown up a lot. His leadership skills are one of the best on the team — you see the way he interacts not only the offensive side but our entire football team.”
A 6-foot-4, 220-pounder, Lock had his ups and downs last year but the Tigers are banking on those growing pains paying dividends.
He opened the season as the backup to Maty Mauk and performed well in his limited role. But when Mauk was suspended from the team, Lock struggled more than he succeeded as the starter, completing just 49 percent of his passes with twice as many interceptions (eight) as touchdown passes (four).
Odom noted Lock’s development in the spring and in fall camp.
“You look at what he’s done from the first day of fall camp until today, he looks like a different player and we’re excited to get him out there and get going,” Odom said.
Zanders, a 6-1, 200-pounder, gives the Tigers a different look as more of a running threat, but saw action in just one game a year ago.
“Marvin Zanders has grown so much as a player and as a quarterback,” Odom said. “Some of those same attitudes (describing Lock) could describe Marvin as well. I think a lot of that goes with the position and how important that is. The guy that’s coaching them, Coach (Josh) Heupel, has done a great job since January getting those guys ready to play at the level that we need them to play.”
It’s not yet known how much of a role Zanders will have, but the key is that the redshirt sophomore will have a role this season after playing sparingly in 2015.
“I think it’s important that everybody on the roster that is in position to help us win a football game, they’re going to see the field,” Odom said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a quarterback spot or the backup left guard. If we feel like that they are practicing well enough to go help us competitively win a football game, they’re going to play.
“Marvin has proved himself that he’s going to help us win football games, so we’re excited about both quarterbacks, the way that they can efficiently run the offense. I’m excited about both of them.”
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