Mauk could take snaps for Tigers this season

COLUMBIA, Mo. — Missouri’s quarterback competition officially closed last week when head coach Gary Pinkel named senior quarterback James Franklin the starter. But that doesn’t mean backup Maty Mauk won’t see the field.

Pinkel left the door open for the possibility the redshirt freshman will see game action this season.

“We’ll make a final decision on that next Thursday,” Pinkel said following Thursday’s scrimmage at Faurot Field. “We always in our staff meeting on Thursday morning, make all personnel decisions for every game. We’d like to do that, it all depends on how he comes along.”

Pinkel has done something similar before at Missouri. During Brad Smith’s senior season in 2005, freshman Chase Daniel came off the bench in 10 games. He attempted 66 passes that season and generally saw about one to two series per game. After Smith went out with an injury during a game against Iowa State, Daniel came off the bench in the fourth quarter with Missouri trailing by 10 to lead the Tigers to a victory.

“He’s doing really good,” Pinkel said of Mauk. “The toughest job out here is always the quarterback of the second team going against the first defense. If you’re first defensive front is really good like ours is, it’s even tougher. You grow from it and every quarterback’s got to go through it.”

III

Thursday’s scrimmage was a final tuneup for the Tigers before they begin preparation for the season opener Aug. 31 against Murray State.

With the first team getting limited reps, it was a chance for backups to impress. But there weren’t many bright spots for the Tigers.

“It wasn’t pretty on offense,” Missouri offensive coordinator Josh Henson said. “I was disappointed with it. It wasn’t acceptable for our standards and we’ve got to get better.”

He added: “It’s unacceptable and it’s our job to get it fixed as an offense, as a group and as a coaching staff together, so we’ve got to get it fixed.”

Missouri scored just one touchdown, that coming on the opening possession when Franklin connected with L’Damian Washington for a 14-yard score. The remainder of the scrimmage was littered with penalties and missed field goals.

Missouri quarterbacks combined to go 23-of-38 with just the one touchdown pass, while the kickers went 3-for-9 on field-goal attempts.

“Today wasn’t as good, but we definitely can get a lot better,” Franklin said.

There were a couple of bright spots.

Christian Brinser averaged 45 yards per punt, including a 55-yard bomb. Brinser is in his first year as the starter, replacing Trey Barrow.

Running back Henry Josey had his best scrimmage of camp as he ran for 49 yards on six carries. It was a good sign for Josey, who is coming back after missing all of last season with knee injuries. Henson said afterward Josey is 100 percent.

III

Missouri nearly escaped camp injury-free.

Starting center Evan Boehm sat out Thursday with a strained left foot. Pinkel said it was only a precaution and he will be back for practice Saturday. Pinkel said he hopes to get cornerback E.J. Gaines back in time for the first game from a strained patella tendon, as well as defensive tackle Matt Hoch, who has a strained triceps.

Pinkel hinted freshman defensive lineman Josh Augusta could see some playing time this season. The 6-foot-4 300 pounder from Peoria, Ill. was a top-10 recruit in Illinois last season according to Rivals.com.

“Josh Augusta could really help us as a freshman,” Pinkel said.

Pinkel did not speculate if there were any other freshmen he thought could see playing time. Only Boehm, receiver Dorial Green-Beckham and running back Russell Hansbrough played as freshmen last season.

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