Mizzou’s Drew Lock eyes breakout campaign after last year’s learning curves

Coming off a four-win sophomore campaign, Missouri quarterback Drew Lock recalls two games helped him develop a new mindset for 2017.

One resulted in the Tigers’ third straight loss against Georgia last September. Lock had set his conference single-game highs with three touchdowns and 376 yards, but also tossed three interceptions in a turnover heavy half, which aided the Bulldogs to a late comeback.

“You throw 330 yards in one half, you want to come out and possibly do the same thing (in the second half),” Lock said about the Georgia loss.

“I came out and kind of laid an egg, but I’ve watched that game multiple times and learned from my mistakes.”

On November 25, Drew Lock helmed a comeback victory in the Battle Line Rivalry against the Arkansas Razorbacks. Mizzou trailed 24-7 heading into halftime, but rallied for three unanswered touchdowns in an effort that Lock hopes the team can replicate more often in 2017.

“It was a tale of two halves, but the second half was all us with the offense and defense working together,” Lock said. “I think you saw the Missouri Tigers working together as one group, and that’s what we’re going to bring this year.”

As the outcomes were near polar opposites of one another, the Georgia and Arkansas matchups served as a microcosm of Mizzou’s second season under Lock. The team fared 2-6 between those games, and none of the outcomes within this stretch were decided by the difference of a single possession.

Even through last year was a roller coaster season, the Lee’s Summit native finished just shy of 3,400 passing yards and 237 completions, both ranking second among SEC quarterbacks. He topped opposing quarterbacks in yardage in all but three games, finishing the season with a 133.3 quarterback ranking.

Drew Lock feels prepared to not only to improve, but also to establish himself even higher in the SEC quarterback hierarchy after Mississippi’s Chad Kelly and Tennessee’s Joshua Dobbs were drafted last year.

“Numbers aren’t enough, and you need to produce and win football games,” Lock said. “But I do believe I have all the skills and all the same things everyone else has in this conference, if not even better.”

The upcoming season will be Lock’s second with coach Barry Odom. Having played under Gary Pinkel his freshman season, Lock believes working with both head coaches for a full season helped him gain multiple perspectives toward improving his game.

“Pinkel was a middle of the field guy, and he’s been there a super long time,” Lock said. “Coach Odom may develop that, but he is more of a hands-on guy, in-your-face, personal type of coach, and I really like that I really do enjoy that.”

Odom said the loss to Georgia allowed Drew Lock to recognize more strategy behind the play calling in the last half of the season.

“He made some progress, and he gained more (confidence) as the season went on,” Odom said. “He learned a lot on going through the process of reading what we’re getting, making the decision and going with it.”

Lock completed at least one touchdown to nine players last year, while mixing in two team-rushing touchdowns per game on average.

One of his more frequent targets is senior J’Mon Moore with more than 1,000 receiving yards last year. Moore has been particularly impressed with Lock’s development since last year’s loss to Georgia.

“I was happy to see him do his thing, and thankful that he trusted me in that (Georgia) game because he gave me a lot of opportunities,” Moore said. “I feel like he took a step forward in that game, and he grew (into a leader).”

The leadership translated into a late-August recognition as one of the team’s four captains with Paul Adams, Eric Beisel and Jordan Harold.

“I didn’t fall in love with the game of football until mid-season last year,” Lock said. “I realized it’s truly the best game there is, just indulging myself into it and just playing it rather than just playing it because I like it.”

Said Odom, “I’m still going to challenge guys to continue to be leaders. We’ve done a really good job from January until today on having a lot of ownership within our team, and that can’t stop, it’s got to get stronger.”

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Article by Joey Schneider

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