However, in 2014, the Tigers must replace a number of key components to last year’s successful team. Gone are impact players like Michael Sam, Kony Ealy and Henry Josey.
Perhaps the biggest missing piece will be James Franklin, who was the starting quarterback for the better part of his career in Columbia. Franklin’s ability to make plays with his arm and his legs made him especially difficult for opponents to defend.
Now that Franklin is gone, it appears that sophomore Maty Mauk will be the next starter. Mauk started four times last season, going 3-1 in those games. He passed for 1,071 yards and 11 touchdowns with two interceptions. He also rushed for 229 yards and a score.
Mauk’s main competitors are Corbin Berkstresser and Eddie Printz, but the job is clearly Mauk’s to lose. For the purposes of motivation, head coach Gary Pinkel likes to keep the competition open, and may do so into fall camp. But it’s a foregone conclusion that Mauk will be the starter in 2014, so Pinkel should go ahead and make that announcement.
By naming Mauk the starter now, Pinkel could allow the team to rally around its new leader. Missouri could also get Mauk more reps with the first team offense, which will make the offense better in the long run.
There is no mystery about who will be Missouri’s quarterback in 2014, so Pinkel should end the drama and name Maty Mauk the starter.
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.