Mauk suspended as father struggles with health

COLUMBIA - Missouri starting quarterback Maty Mauk and offensive lineman Malik Cuellar have been suspended for the Tigers' game Saturday against South Carolina, the team announced Tuesday.

The players were suspended "for disciplinary reasons related to violation of team policies," according to a release from the athletics department.

With Mauk suspended, freshman quarterback Drew Lock will likely get his first career start against the Gamecocks.

Cuellar, meanwhile, was listed as the backup left tackle on Missouri's depth chart Monday. The junior is in his first year at Missouri after transferring from City College of San Francisco. The Tigers are already without starting right tackle Nate Crawford, who is out with an ankle injury.

The players' status will be evaluated after Saturday's game.

Mauk was not made available for the team's weekly media availability Monday because of family reasons, according to spokesman Chad Moller. Mauk's father underwent surgery for colorectal cancer Monday in Springfield. It was the first weekly media availibility Mauk missed this season.

Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said Monday he believed Mauk's father's surgery was successful, and the Springfield News-Leader reported the same, according to Mauk's brother, Ben. Mauk's father, Mike, is the football coach at Glendale High School in Springfield, and Ben Mauk is the team's offensive coordinator.

Maty Mauk said at Southeastern Conference Media Days in July he was dedicating his season to his father. Pinkel said Mike Mauk's health has been a lot for the junior quarterback to handle.

"I think to say that it doesn't affect him - I mean, it affects me. You know how much I care about all my players, and certainly Maty," Pinkel said. "It's just something at a young age he's forced to deal with, and hopefully - prayers that that's going to come out well for his family. ... He's a pretty focused guy, and he'll never have excuses for anything."

Sophomore receiver J'Mon Moore said Monday he has noticed a change in Mauk's disposition.

"Me knowing Maty, I know how he is so I can tell when something is wrong," Moore said. "He might be a little affected, but we can't control that. But yeah, I can say it's been affecting (him). ... Outside of football, he's not the same. A little bit more quiet. A little bit more - just kind of a little blank."

Lock said Mauk hasn't discussed the issues much with the team.

"I feel like football is his getaway for sure," Lock said Monday. "I mean, it kind of puts it out of his mind a bit, so when we're here in football, we don't really try to bring it up, unless something like (the surgery is happening). Like today, I for sure texted him and said, "My family's thinking about you. We're all here thinking about here and praying for you.'

"That's kind of just the deal. We just kind of put it out when he comes in here, but if he wants to talk about it outside, we'll openly talk about it obviously."