COLUMBIA — In the last month, redshirt freshman Maty Mauk won three games as Missouris starting quarterback while senior captain James Franklin recovered from a sprained shoulder.
By TOD PALMER
The Kansas City Star
Equally important, Mauk won the trust of the Tigers coaching staff and the respect of his teammates by guiding No. 8 Missouri to a 3-1 record and keeping the team on track for an SEC East championship.
Hes a gutsy dude, senior wide receiver LDamian Washington said. Hes back there improvising and making plays. Hes a great guy. You love to play with a guy like that who can create a play out of nothing. I love that about Maty.
Franklin, who is set to return when the Tigers tussle with No. 24 Mississippi at 6:45 p.m. Saturday in Oxford, Miss., also praised Mauks performance during his absence.
Obviously Ive hated being out, but Ive wanted us to win, and Matys done a great job making sure that weve been winning, Franklin said.
For now, Mauk, who completed 57 of 114 passes for 910 yards with 10 touchdowns and only two interceptions in those four starts, will return to a backup role.
He knew it was coming. Missouri coach Gary Pinkel had said all along it was Franklins job when he was healthy enough to return.
Now that Mauk has a taste for big-time college football, resuming his duties as understudy wont be easy.
It will be a little tough, but I know my role on the team and Im going to go out every day and give my best and be prepared no matter what happens, Mauk said.
Pinkel also said Mauk, a Kenton, Ohio, native, has earned the right to play as the Tigers prepare for must-win games against the Rebels and Nov. 30 when Texas A&M comes to town.
Maty will play, Pinkel said. How much we dont know yet, but hell definitely play. Matys done a great job.
Pinkel said the decision on how and when to use Mauk wont be made until Thursdays staff meeting, but there isnt much chance the Tigers staff will simply forget to put Mauk in for a series or two.
Against Indiana on Sept. 21, Pinkel said he forgot to insert Mauk for a series. The following week against Arkansas State, Mauk had only mop-up duty, kneeling in the victory formation.
That isnt going to be the case against Mississippi, but the real payoff from Mauks four-game stint as the starting quarterback probably wont be realized until the spring or even next fall.
Any time a guy gets into a football game, hes going to use that experience and be xponentially better the next year, Missouri associate head coach/quarterbacks coach Andy Hill said. (Mauk) is going to be able to take these four games and really build confidence from it. Obviously, hes played very well and it should help him next year.
Mauk admits that hes changed as a quarterback. He said he already had matured over the offseason from the redshirt who ran from police in a late-night scooter escapade that resulted in four misdemeanor charges.
Now, with four starts under his belt, Mauks maturation process on the field has been accelerated, too.
The biggest thing is I got the game to slow down, he said. When I was thrown in there against Toledo, I came in and got two sacks on me. The game was faster then. And now that Ive been in there playing a lot, its easier to go through reads. Everythings just slowed way down, and thats the biggest thing Ive gained.
Well, that and the confidence of his teammates.
Maty could start anywhere else, sophomore center Evan Boehm said. I really believe that and I firmly believe in that. We didnt skip a beat (when Franklin went out), and I dont think Maty has to prove himself for next year. Matys already proved himself to the nation.
Tale of the tape
|James Franklin||Category||Maty Mauk|
|Corinth, Texas||Hometown||Kenton, Ohio|
|132-195 (67.7%)||Passing||62-120 (51.7%)|
|4.5||Yards per carry||4.4|
To reach Tod Palmer, call 816-234-4389 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at twitter.com/todpalmer.