Numerous wire reports and blog posts are emanating out of Columbia, Missouri revealing that Gary Pinkel has suspended Junior starting QB Maty Mauk for the South Carolina game. A reserve Mizzou offensive tackle, Malik Cuellar, has also been suspended.
The official explanation is the standard, anodyne: "disciplinary reasons related to violations of team policies." As of the time of this post, even our sister blog Rock M Nation does not have the real skinny on what happened. We don't know if both the suspensions are tied together or have separate causes. We don't know yet if the suspensions are just for the USC contest or will extend to multiple games.
Highly touted freshman QB Drew Lock, a Missouri product, will start in place of Mauk. On the young season, Lock has seen limited action with 15 completions on 25 attempts and 1 TD.
There is a good chance Lock would have been given a lot of p.t., if not the majority of the snaps, against South Carolina anyway. The book on Mauk going into 2015 was that he was an effective leader but struggled with consistency due to poor mechanics; those inconsistency concerns have continued to plague him in 2015 - especially in the loss to Kentucky at Lexington. Reports this week from the 'other' Columbia also revealed that Mauk had been limited by a shoulder injury - and that his father had undergone cancer surgery this week which caused the starting QB to miss some practice. How this suspension will affect his leadership qualities with his teammates will have to be judged later.
Will it make a big difference? Mizzou has struggled on offense. Our abysmal pass-defense would have been a tonic for Mauk, but is also tailor-made for breaking in the future face of the program. Still, Mauk was a proven commodity while Lock is an unknown. From the Tigers' perspective, the best case scenario is that it will cause us to have to re-think our defensive game plan.
For the two-time defending SEC East Champs - who have limped through two narrow OOC victories (27-20 over Ark. St. at Jonesboro; and 9-6 over UConn at Faurot Field) before dropping 21-13 at UK and throwing the chance of a three-peat into serious doubt - the loss of a veteran, upperclassman QB to a disciplinary suspension is going to rattle a team already dealing with significant injuries and depth issues.