Drew Lock-ed in at quarterback for MU

Drew-Lock_MU

NOVEMBER 2015 – Drew Lock was thrust into the limelight as the Missouri starting quarterback ahead of schedule as a true freshman after junior Maty Mauk was suspended for violating team rules.

Mauk was reinstated in late October, but six days later coach Gary Pinkel suspended Mauk for the remainder of the season, leaving Lock firmly entrenched as the starting quarterback.

Mauk’s suspension has allowed Lock to garner valuable playing time in the Southeastern Conference, while most players are redshirted as a freshman.

Lock was a four-star recruit out of Lee’s Summit, where he completed 405 passes in 643 attempts for 5,779 yards as a junior and senior. He threw 63 touchdowns and only 12 interceptions.

There was little doubt he would wind up at Columbia. The Tigers are in his DNA. His father, Andy, was an offensive lineman from 1986-89 at Missouri. His granddad, also, played at Missouri.

But the transition from high school to the rugged SEC defenses would challenge almost any quarterback as a true freshman.

“It’s definitely different,” Lock said. “I’ve realized it’s a lot quicker than high school football and the guys are a lot bigger, but I feel like I’m developing well and learning a lot every single week.

“I’m glad that I get to learn early instead of learning my junior year and only having one year to put everything into action.”

With Lock at quarterback in Mauk’s absence, the Tigers beat South Carolina, but lost to Vanderbilt, Florida and Georgia. In the past, Missouri had topflight wide receivers, but Lock has few major weapons to assist him as the Tigers’ offense stalled and sputtered.

“I need to get in tune with our wide receivers, work extra on my footwork, and make correct and diagnose defenses a little more,” Lock said. “Pretty much everything you can think of I can improve on.”

Lock tries to ignore the outside pressures of being a quarterback on a team that is failing to live up to expectations after winning SEC division titles the previous two years.

“I’ve had Twitter deleted for three weeks now, so I kind of just hide away,” Lock said. “People are going to be upset when we lose ball games, but at the same time they’re going to praise you when you’re up and win ball games.

“With me being the new guy on the team I just have to ask my teammates how they cope with it and kind of lean on them.”

Besides the outside pressure, Lock has to cope playing road games in hostile environments and stadiums.

“Emotional stability is what we call it” Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said. “When things are going crazy out there, are you under control?

Are you focused and can you manage in front of 80,000 people.

“We try to train our guys and give them tools to work with so that they stay focused. We have techniques that we teach these guys now and they work. With the younger guys it takes a little bit longer.

“Everyone has to do better, everyone has to improve and that’s what we work on. We’re all in this together and I have good coaches and I have good players and we just have to focus up and get our minds right.”

Upperclassmen are trying to make sure Lock and the offense do not take the brunt of the blame that the Tigers lose as a team collectively.

“It’ll never be like that because we’re too close,” junior linebacker Michael Scherer said. “Offense isn’t doing very well and I mean we all know it. Nobody needs to bring it up, nobody needs to point it out and say “hey, it’s your fault.” We just go about our business and do what we do.”

While the Tigers are no longer in the race to get back to the SEC championship game, they still hope to become bowl eligible with six or more victories.

“We just have to keep our minds clear and be positive because we still have a lot of the season to go. Time is dwindling down but we still have a lot more football to go,” senior offensive lineman Evan Boehm, who is another Lee’s Summit product. “These next five games are most important.”

Lock completed 62 of 127 passes, 48.8 percent, for 538 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions over his four October starts. Overall, in his first eight games, Lock is 77 for 152 for 763 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions.

Article by Brianhna Martin

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