COLUMBIA — While James Franklin was off in Thibodaux, La., on Thursday, putting in work as a camp counselor at the Manning Passing Academy, Missouri redshirt freshman Maty Mauk – perhaps Franklin’s primary competition for the starting quarterback job – was sweating through another 7-on-7 workout with his teammates.
By TEREZ A. PAYLOR
The Kansas City Star
Mauk, a record-setting prep quarterback from Kenton, Ohio, knows little will be settled until August, when preseason camp starts. But after a spring in which Franklin seemed to seize a tenous hold on the job, Mauk knows he has plenty of work to do if he wants to surge ahead of the incumbent come September.
“Win every day,” Mauk said, when asked of his mindset regarding the open competition. “No matter what drill we’re doing, do the best I can to try to stick out and show what I’m capable of doing.”
Mauk took his share of lumps in the spring, particularly in the black-and-gold game. On a day where the offense struggled as a whole, Mauk completed only 6 of 17 passes for 72 yards and threw two interceptions, while also taking several sacks. Afterward, he pledged to be a “completely different” player come August, and he now looks at his spring struggles as a learning experience.
“(I was) just getting myself comfortable with the different pace,” Mauk said. “Especially this year, we’re trying to go a little bit faster. So just to get that muscle memory, to know how fast things are going, to know if that safety is going this way, I’m going the opposite, (it helps).”
Mauk was also asked about the mentality of the team after posting a disappointing 5-7 record last season, the Tigers’ first in the Southeastern Conference.
“I don’t think we really think about last year,” Mauk said. “It’s obviously in the back of your head, but you can tell in the locker room there’s a lot more leadership. We’re always pushing each other, no matter what. If it’s in the weight room, or just out messing around, everybody’s trying to get better everyday. I think that’s what’s going to be the big difference in these last two teams. Even the coaches have been saying we’re one of the hardest working teams and stuff like that.”
Making an early impression
When asked if any incoming freshmen have caught his eye in 7-on-7 workouts, senior receiver L’Damian Washington praised cornerback Aaron Penton, receiver J’Mon Moore and safety Shaun Rupert.
“I like Aarion, he’s a big noise talker,” Washington said. “I like J’Mon Moore, he’s a big noise talker. Those guys are going at it … and I like Shaun, the safety. He’s a pretty smooth guy. But those are the guys that I’m around in camp. I can’t really speak for the d-ends and d-tackles.”
All three players were three-star recruits in the Class of 2013, according to Rivals.com.