During the 2013 season, Maty Mauk got significant playing time at quarterback for the Missouri Tigers. And Mauk was good during his time on the field, especially for a freshman thrown into action against Southeastern Conference defenses.
Mauk passed for 1,071 yards and 11 touchdowns, with just two interceptions last season, while playing in 13 games and starting four. He also showed the ability to make plays with his legs, rushing for 229 yards and a touchdown.
So it would seem that Missouri and Mauk are in a good place for the 2014 season. And they probably are, but there are two reasons that the upcoming season will be tougher for Mauk and Missouri than last season was.
The first reason is that Mauk is now the man behind center. James Franklin, the 2013 starter, is now gone and this is Mauk’s job. The backup quarterback is almost always the fan favorite, and that role will be filled by someone other than Mauk in 2014.
Secondly, Mauk won’t have the plethora of weapons to work with this season as he did in 2013. Gone are running back Henry Josey as well as wide receivers Marcus Lucas and L’Damian Washington. And the status of star wideout Dorial Green-Beckham could be in doubt due to multiple incidents off the field.
Mauk proved last season that he can handle some adversity. He also has all of the tools to be an outstanding quarterback for Gary Pinkel and the Tigers. But the 2014 season will be different, and Mauk will once again need to prove that he can do the job.
Tim Letcher is a contributing writer for RantSports.com and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @TimLetcher , on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.