Though the quarterback position is technically on the list of spots where the Missouri Tigers need new starters, there’s not much concern about who’s under center going into 2014. Redshirt sophomore Maty Mauk, who took over for injured starter James Franklin during the heart of the team’s 2013 SEC schedule and guided them to three victories, will be the starter as Mizzou looks to have another strong season. Mauk, who completed 51.1 percent of his passes while throwing for 11 touchdowns and gained 290 yards on 40 attempts on the ground, should continue the Tigers’ successful string of dual-threat quarterbacks. Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel went so far as to compare his skill set to that of recent NFL draftee Johnny Manziel.
Mauk will undoubtedly miss wideout Dorial Green-Beckham, who was the Tigers’ leading receiver in 2013 and had created good chemistry with Mauk prior to his dismissal this spring for repeated disciplinary issues. The Tigers will probably go more run-heavy than in years past due to the presence of their three-headed running back monster of Marcus Murphy, Russell Hansbrough, and Morgan Steward. When they do throw, however, Mauk will be working with a rather inexperienced group, as DGB’s loss along with the graduations of senior wideouts L’Damian Washington and Marcus Lucas means that he’ll be without his top three receivers from last year.
The receiving corps will include but not be limited to players such as Bud Sasser, Jimmie Hunt, and Darius White, none of whom made a huge impact on the passing game in 2013. Though he wasn’t a big part of the passing game anyway, two-year starting tight end Eric Waters has departed, so Sean Culkin and Clayton Echard will now handle those duties. Mauk will need to make sure that he develops a good rapport with those players during preseason workouts so that the pain from the loss of his departed targets is minimalized.
Behind Mauk, the Tigers currently have four other quarterbacks: redshirt junior Corbin Berkstresser, redshirt freshman Eddie Printz, freshman Marvin Zanders (who practiced in the spring after enrolling early) and redshirt freshman walk-on Colby Carpenter. Trent Hosick, a Kansas City product who was heading into his redshirt freshman year, was also considered a candidate to be the number two quarterback but decided to transfer to BYU following spring practice.
With Hosick’s departure, the two realistic options to back up Mauk are Berkstresser and Printz. Berkstresser, a Missouri native who at one point was a very highly-regarded recruit, will look to rebound after getting some starting experience in 2012 which yielded disastrous results. Last year, he was passed on the depth chart by Mauk and later suffered a season-ending injury, so it’s safe to say that he will be looking for better results in 2014.
Printz, meanwhile, is a rather well thought-of prospect, especially since the Marietta, Georgia native was the Tigers’ first big signing out of SEC country, choosing Mizzou over other high-profile schools like Arkansas, Auburn, and Florida State. Though he didn’t get any playing time during 2013, he was listed as Mizzou’s primary backup at one point, and it wouldn’t be surprising if he assumed the same position again in 2014. Just as was the case last year, the second-string spot will be decided through preseason practices, so Berkstresser and Printz will hit the field in August really looking to prove themselves.