There is no timetable for Missouri junior quarterback Maty Mauk’s return, but he will remain suspended against Florida.
Tigers coach Gary Pinkel said Monday that backup left tackle Malik Cuellar, who was suspended along with Mauk last week for an undisclosed violation of team rules, had been reinstated, but that’s not the case for Mauk.
“He’s indefinitely suspended and when he returns, that release that you have in front of you,” Pinkel said, referring to MU’s weekly game notes and depth chart, “his name will be in it.”
When asked directly if there was a timetable for Mauk’s reinstatement, Pinkel bristled and said, “I just said a moment ago, his name will be on that sheet there on the Monday that he’s back.”
Pinkel wouldn’t acknowledge if he’d had any conversations with Mauk during the last week.
“I don’t discuss personal things,” Pinkel said. “I have an agreement with my players and I protect them like my son, so I don’t ever talk about disciplinary issues. Ever. That’s something that, they trust in me and I trust in them.”
Pinkel also wouldn’t comment on Cuellar’s situation except to say that the depth chart was accurate.
Cuellar — a 6-foot-5, 300-pound junior transfer from City College of San Francisco — appears behind senior left tackle Connor McGovern on the Tigers’ latest depth chart
Mauk’s continued suspension means freshman Drew Lock, a Lee’s Summit graduate and the reigning Simone Award winner as the top high school player in Kansas City, will start for a second consecutive week.
Lock completed 21 of 28 passes for 136 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions in a 24-10 win Saturday against South Carolina.
He was 16 of 19 for 108 yards with both scores (on throws to sophomore Nate Brown) in the first half.
“I thought he did a lot of good things,” Pinkel said. “There’s a lot of little things he’s got to improve on, which is consistent with any time you have a young quarterback. Certainly, he did good things and he can get a whole lot better. We’re excited about that.”
He said he would save the specifics of that critique for Lock in private.
Now, Lock and the Tigers, 4-1 overall and 1-1 in the SEC, face a much tougher test against the Gators, 5-0 and 3-0.
Missouri got conservative offensively in the second half, especially after a third-quarter touchdown bolstered a 17-10 halftime lead, but that isn’t likely to be an option against No. 11 Florida, which pounded then-No. 3 Mississippi 38-10 at home last week.
Lock might need to be unshackled a bit for Missouri to have a chance.
“Any quarterback earns trust,” Pinkel said. “The situation in the game, you take that into consideration. You take into consideration the down and distance. You take into consideration the score.”
On the injury front, junior tight end Sean Culkin (knee) remains sidelined, but sophomore right tackle Nate Crawford (ankle) and redshirt freshman wide receiver DeSean Blair (concussion) are expected to return.
Tod Palmer: 816-234-4389, @todpalmer