Tag Archives: Andy Hill

Ray, Missouri defensive line dominate in 38-10 rout

Story by Christian Clark, KBIA Sports
Photos by Brandon Kiley, KBIA Sports

Missouri defensive end Shane Ray finished the day with wo sacks and four tackles for loss.

Missouri defensive end Shane Ray finished the day with wo sacks and four tackles for loss.

By his own admission, Shane Ray was the chubby kid growing up. The grade school kid who was slow, clumsy — the last pick in schoolyard games.

Things were so bad that Ray quit football all together in fifth grade.

“I hadn’t really bloomed into being an athlete, so I didn’t really want to play,” Ray said during Monday’s media session.

After watching Ray repeatedly terrorize Central Florida quarterback Justin Holman and a number of Knights running backs to the tune of two sacks and four tackles for a loss Saturday at Faurot Field, it’s difficult to imagine a time when Ray wasn’t a dominant force. The Tigers junior defensive end spearheaded a Missouri defensive unit that harassed UCF into four second-half turnovers in No. 20 Missouri’s 38-10 win.

“Shane was everywhere,” Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said after the game. “I mean (defensive end Markus Golden) certainly did some good things — we had a lot of defensive linemen doing great things — but Shane’s a great player.”

Ray was consistent throughout the game, registering two tackles for a loss in the first half to go along with the two tackles for loss and two sacks he posted during the final 30 minutes of play. But for many of his fellow teammates, Read more of this post

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Mizzou QB Mauk set to become full-time starter 


By The Associated Press

Missouri vs. Florida football, Saturday, Oct. 10, 2013 at Faurot Field in Columbia, Mo. Photo by Karen Mitchell

Maty Mauk has earned the starting quarterback position for Missouri.

Growing up in Kenton, Ohio, Maty Mauk didn’t know much about Missouri. But he got an offer to play quarterback for the Tigers, and decided to visit them during the Fourth of July weekend in 2011.

Five hundred miles later, he knew where he wanted to attend college.

“When I came on that first visit, it was a lot different than the other ones,” Mauk said Monday. “Here I knew it was Read more of this post

Time to recognize the greatness of Mizzou’s Pinkel

MU football coach Gary Pinkel holds 8-month-old Bristol Kennedy at the annual Fan Day event on Sunday, Aug. 10, 2014, at Memorial Stadium. Bristol is the daughter of Robert and Secley Kennedy of Columbia. Photo by Karen Mitchell

MU football coach Gary Pinkel holds 8-month-old Bristol Kennedy at the annual Fan Day event on Sunday, Aug. 10, 2014, at Memorial Stadium. Bristol is the daughter of Robert and Secley Kennedy of Columbia. Photo by Karen Mitchell

As Mizzou football prepares to start a new season, once again Tiger fans will expect big things of their team — and the rest of the football world will not. In spite of winning 12 games and the SEC East last year, nobody seems to respect the Tigers. The league’s Sports Information Directors pegged MU ninth best in the league in their preseason ratings, Read more of this post

Mizzou ends signing day with depth at receiver, defensive back

By Ryan Shiner

Missouri football coach Gary Pinkel talks with reporters about the 28 recruits Missouri signed during National Signing Day on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014 at Mizzou Arena. Photo by Ryan Shiner.

Missouri football coach Gary Pinkel talks with reporters about the 28 recruits Missouri signed during National Signing Day on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014 at Mizzou Arena. Photo by Ryan Shiner.

The recruiting period for next year’s incoming freshman class is now complete, and Missouri football walked away with 28 recruits.

The two most abundant positions for this year’s incoming class are wide receiver and defensive back each with six signees. According to coach Gary Pinkel, Missouri had a specific amount of players it wanted at these positions.

“We had a number we want to hit in every position and hit every number,” Pinkel said. “If you look at our receiving core, we were losing some high level players (this year) and some more players next year.”

Receivers coach Pat Washington explained why the number of receiver recruits is higher this year. Read more of this post

Franklin set to return as starting QB for Mizzou

By The Associated Press

COLUMBIA — Missouri has its senior captain back at quarterback.

Coach Gary Pinkel said Monday that James Franklin is “100 percent cleared” and will lead the eighth-ranked Tigers at Ole Miss this weekend after missing four starts with a sprained throwing shoulder.

The quarterback had been enjoying a career season through five games and positioned his team for a win at Georgia on Oct. 12 before getting slammed to the ground by two defenders.

“At first, you could tell that it hurt James a lot,” Read more of this post

Mauk shows signs of great potential in his first college start

Story by Ryan Shiner

Photos by Karen Mitchell

Maty Mauk eyes two defensive players as he moves out of the pocket Saturday against Florida. Mauk was never sacked in the game.

Maty Mauk eyes two defensive players as he moves out of the pocket Saturday against Florida. Mauk was never sacked in the game.

Prior to the 11:21 start on Saturday, there were many questions about Missouri’s new starting quarterback, Maty Mauk, whose first college start was coming against one of the best defenses in the country.
Mauk answered a lot of those questions on the first play from scrimmage, much to the enjoyment of the sold-out crowd at Memorial Stadium, which erupted in sustained cheers.
“He looked like a seasoned veteran out there,” coach Gary Pinkel said of the redshirt freshmen.

Mauk kept up the offensive tempo established by James Franklin and company this year. Mauk’s first pass—completed to L’Damian Washington for 41-yards—was followed immediately by a 34-yard pass to Bud Sasser in Read more of this post

Mizzou QBs unsettled going into spring game

By The Associated Press

COLUMBIA — Missouri coach Gary Pinkel isn’t giving any clues about the competition to start at quarterback this fall.

Returning starter James Franklin began spring camp March 12 atop the depth chart, but Corbin Berkstresser and Maty Mauk have also taken snaps with the top offense ahead of Saturday’s Black and Gold Game.

“I just think that’s our business right now, nobody else’s business,” Pinkel said. “I don’t know where it’s going to end up, and that’s OK. We’ve got three talented guys who are competing, and I’m in no rush to make a decision. And generally, it takes care of itself.”

Franklin threw for 1,562 yards, 10 touchdowns and seven interceptions in nine games last season, one marred by injuries to his shoulder and knee. The 6-foot-2, 230-pound senior threw for 2,865 yards, 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 13 games the previous year, the Tigers’ last in the Big 12.

Healthy again, Franklin says there are no doubts lingering for him.

“Going into (the play), it’s not like, ‘Aw, man. I’m going to have to throw this deep ball and my shoulder hurts,'” he said. “Or, ‘I need to step in the pocket but guys are falling on my knee,’ that kind of thing. So it really helps out, not having to think about it, not having to worry about it and just going out and playing.”

Franklin’s parents surprised their son with a trip to San Diego to work with trainer George Whitfield Jr. during Missouri’s weeklong spring break at the end of March. Franklin said it helped him.

While he is admittedly still learning, Franklin is simultaneously teaching his two teammates who want his position – an “odd” circumstance he has come to accept.

Berkstresser started four times last season but played in 10 games, throwing for 1,059 yards, five touchdowns and seven interceptions. A 6-foot-3 sophomore, he credits the open competition with Franklin and Mauk with helping him improve, and says there are no hard feelings among them.

“It’s not up to our discretion, it’s up to the coaches’ discretion,” Berkstresser said. “So whoever wins the starting job, we’re still going to be friends no matter what.”

Mauk, a native of Kenton, Ohio, redshirted last season after being named Mr. Football of his home state by The Associated Press in 2011. He set national career records in yards (18,932, according to Missouri), completions (1,353) and touchdowns (219), but has relied on his ability to scramble this spring. Mauk has rushed 12 times for 106 yards and one touchdown through two scrimmages.

The 6-foot-1, 200-pound freshman has drawn comparisons to current Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Chase Daniel, who led Missouri to a 30-11 record from 2006-08 with a 6-foot, 225-pound frame. Mauk says he has watched footage of Daniel and tries to emulate his footwork.

“He’s got the smoothest dropping feet of anybody I’ve ever seen,” Mauk said. “So I’m just trying to pick up on that and try to put that into my play and use it on the field.”

All three quarterbacks will play Saturday, hoping to end the offense’s struggles so far this spring. Using a scoring system that awards points for various statistics such as sacks, first downs and takeaways, Missouri’s defense has won the team’s first two scrimmages by a combined 53-19 score.

Part of the problem can be traced to the lack of continuity caused by quarterbacks working with different offensive lines and receivers. Whoever wins the competition will be asked to piece together an offense that finished 11th in the Southeastern Conference last season with 25.8 points per game.

“The great teams have great leadership, and most of them have great quarterbacks that have great leadership that make them great teams,” quarterbacks coach Andy Hill said. “We always kind of point to, the obvious ones are Peyton Manning, Tom Brady. They’re talking to people, they’re communicating and they’re encouraging their teammates. And that’s what you have to do to be successful.”

A healthy O-line will be key to improved Mizzou offense in 2013

darren hellwege logo

Darren Hellwege, Sports Commentator

As Missouri football spring drills continue, Tiger fans anxiously await the 2013 season. And there’s good reason for the anxiety. This may well be the most important season in recent memory for the Tigers.

Maybe last year’s 5-7 collapse was an anomaly, a bump in the road for a strong program. Maybe a very good team, between adjusting to a new league and a ridiculous rash of injuries, just had all its bad luck come together at one time. Or, maybe a program that had been up for a while has crashed back to earth.

One thing for sure, improvement is badly needed. Fortunately, following last Saturday’s opening scrimmage, we may be seeing that needed improvement in a lot of key areas.

The biggest change is going to be not on the field but on the sideline and in the coaches’ box, where the new offensive brain trust of Josh Henson and Andy Hill replaces former offensive coordinator David Yost, who has taken a new gig coaching receivers at Washington State. I can already see differences, as the Tigers looked crisper on offense as plays developed more quickly. The quarterbacks are still in a shotgun formation but are a step closer to the center.

Of course, like all offenses, success for the Tigers is 2013 is predicated on one thing above all else—strong play from the quarterback.

QUARTERBACK: Just like the Tiger offense as a whole, what to make of James Franklin’s 2012 season can’t really be judged fairly until we see what happens in 2013. Franklin played hurt a lot of last year and was behind an offensive line one could charitably define as piecemeal. While Franklin’s passing game wasn’t far off from previous seasons, the running game was. After rushing for at least 40 yards in 11 of 13 games two years back, Franklin topped the mark just once last season, going for 43 against Tennessee.

If Franklin can return to the days when his skill as a passer was augmented by the fear he put into the defense when he tucked the ball and ran, it could be a very special senior year for him. And, contrary to what some observers think, I doubt there will be any serious quarterback debate going on here. Once the season starts, Franklin will be the man.

The debate will continue as to who is No. 2, but indications are that it may well be redshirt freshman Maty Mauk. Not only was he a better passer Saturday (11-19, 140 yards, 1 TD, 1 Int) than Corbin Berkstresser (8-22, 52 yards, 0 TD, 0 Int) but Mauk also can step right into Franklin’s shoes as a running quarterback. He dashed for 81 yards and showed some slick moves.

RUNNING BACKS: As poor as MU’s offense was last year, they had one bright spot: Kendial Lawrence rushing for more than 1,100 yards. Lawrence has graduated but the position will continue to be a major strength of the team. The return of Marcus Murphy, who averaged more than five yards a carry last year, and talented sophomore Russell Hansbrough would be reason enough for Tiger fans to be excited, but all eyes will be on Henry Josey. Josey was the No. 5 rusher in the nation when he suffered a major knee injury on Faurot Field two seasons ago against Texas, and after sitting out a full season and putting in remarkable effort towards rehab, he looked sharp on Saturday.

OFFENSIVE LINE: If the subject is “improvement,” when talking about the offensive line at Mizzou the answer is almost clearly “how could you not.” It’s hard to imagine a more calamitous season for any unit than the 2012 Tiger O-line. Injury after injury after injury had guys playing out of position, guys who would ordinarily have been well down on the depth chart starting, and, above all, a true lack of the continuity you need from an offensive line. The results were obvious, as Mizzou’s offense went from one of the nation’s best to among the worst in just one year.

But some deep guy said once, that which does not kill you makes you stronger. And last year’s train wreck means a line this year that is not only skilled and deep but has more experience than one might have expected. It’s extremely rare for a true freshman to get much playing time on the offensive line, but with all the guys on the disabled list Evan Boehm started all 12 games last year and was named first team Freshman All-American by College Football News. He’s been moved to center, a position that was problematic last season, and with his size and ability it’s likely he’ll take his place in a long line of outstanding Tiger centers.

The Tigers have their most experienced lineman at the key left tackle position in Justin Britt, who played very well before being lost to…you guessed it…another injury, in last year’s Florida game. Last year saw guys like former walk-on Max Copeland and youngster Brad McNulty step up and play well, and gave Mitch Morse a chance to show his toughness and versatility. And with the return from injury of Taylor Chappell, there’ll be some interesting position battles through the spring and fall camps and some major skill and depth across the line. At no position should Missouri be more improved in the upcoming season.

WIDE RECEIVER: The team’s leading receiver from 2012, senior Marcus Lucas, returns. So do deep threat guys, L’Damian Washington (17.7 yards per catch) Jimmie Hunt (18.1) and Bud Sasser (23.1). But the excitement around the receiving corps is obviously centered on Dorial Green-Beckham. In most cases, a true freshman getting nearly 400 yards receiving against SEC competition and leading the team with five touchdowns would be big stuff. But DGB came in as the top recruit in the nation and expectations were, and remain, sky high. Aside from an 80 yard bomb against Central Florida, DGB didn’t contribute a lot early in the year, but as the season progressed things picked up. Seven catches against Kentucky, two touchdowns (including the tying score in the final minute) against Tennessee, a long TD against Syracuse and four catches for 55 yards against Texas A&M demonstrate that as the season wore down Green-Beckham become more and more a part of the offense. And in last Saturday’s scrimmage, he led the way with seven catches for 82 yards.

And at tight end, the Tigers tradition of outstanding play continues with the return of Eric Waters and with exciting redshirt freshman Sean Culkin in the mix. Waters played a good deal as a blocking back last season, but both he and Culkin are also capable of being a big part of the passing game in the mold of Michael Egnew, Chase Coffman, Martin Rucker and Kellen Winslow. Waters and Culkin are both skilled enough to keep the nickname of “Tight End U.” alive at Mizzou.

Mizzou football squad well served by its youth

By the Associated Press

Missouri safety Ian Simon knew he had made a mistake.

For three consecutive plays in overtime, he either failed to line up correctly or properly cover a Tennessee receiver. Defensive coordinator Dave Steckel said he “verbally assaulted” Simon after the redshirt freshman returned to the sideline.

“I knew I’d messed up on the previous plays and I was letting the moment get to me a little bit,” Simon said. “He came to the sideline, he chewed me out a little bit, but it also calmed me back down at the same time and brought me back to earth a little bit.”

Steckel tried apologizing after the exchange but Simon wouldn’t let him and said he needed it. The safety returned to the field and broke up quarterback Tyler Bray’s fourth-down pass attempt in the fourth overtime, preventing the Volunteers from scoring and giving Missouri the opportunity to win the game with a field goal.

Redshirt freshman kicker Andrew Baggett converted from 35 yards and the Tigers won their first Southeastern Conference road game, 51-48, thanks in no small part to several young and inexperienced players.

“There’s nothing like experience,” coach Gary Pinkel said. “And you’ve got to get out there and you’re going to make mistakes. That’s how you grow.”

Sophomore receiver Bud Sasser, who entered the game with only 10 career receptions, caught two passes for 61 yards, including a leaping grab over a defender for 40 yards that set up a Kendial Lawrence’s 1-yard touchdown run three plays later.

Starting his fourth career game, Sasser said he had never been in a situation that rivaled Saturday’s four overtimes. He and junior receiver Marcus Lucas were walking along the sideline telling different groups of players to just enjoy the moment and have fun.

“This is what we come to school for, this is what we play the game for,” Sasser said. “And we want to play in big games, and here it is.”

Winning at Tennessee moved Missouri (5-5, 2-5 SEC) to within one win of extending its bowl streak to eight seasons. With a visit to No. 9 Texas A&M to finish the season, the Tigers want to secure their trip to the postseason this week at home against Syracuse (5-5, 4-2 Big East).

“Oh, it’s on our mind,” Sasser said.

Against the Orange, junior quarterback James Franklin will also likely be targeting sophomore Jimmie Hunt and freshman Dorial Green-Beckham, who combined for four touchdowns against the Volunteers.

Hunt scored the team’s fifth touchdown on special teams this season on an 87-yard kickoff return and caught his seventh career pass for a 24-yard score in the first overtime.

Green-Beckham, who arrived in the summer as one of the school’s highest-ever touted recruits, only caught seven passes in the team’s first seven games. Since then, his 14 receptions lead the Tigers. Two of those – both for touchdowns – came last Saturday.

The first occurred on Missouri’s final play in regulation, a fourth-down, 25-yard catch in the end zone. The ball was headed slightly out of bounds, but Green-Beckham utilized his 6-6, 220-pound frame to keep both feet in play.

“He’s a lot different football player right now than he was five weeks ago,” Pinkel said. “Because he’s working so hard at fundamentals and his work ethic, so on and so forth. That’s a glimpse of what he can be.”

Franklin says his young receivers are starting to lead by example, so it shouldn’t be considered all that surprising he targeted Green-Beckham for a 10-yard, over-the-shoulder touchdown pass in the third overtime after the receiver dropped an identical pass the previous play.

If anyone on Missouri could spot resiliency, it would be Franklin, who completed only 2 of 8 passes for 18 yards and an interception in the first half but finished 19-for-32 for 226 yards and four touchdowns.

“Here’s the bottom line,” receivers coach Andy Hill said. “If you go do it in practice, and it’s consistent that you catch balls and run the right routes and the ball comes to you and you make the play, then the quarterback’s looking for you on Saturdays.”

Missouri punter Barrow must win job again

By the Associated Press

Well before game day, Missouri punter Trey Barrow is getting plenty of competition.

After an inconsistent performance at No. 6 South Carolina, Barrow needs to beat out Christian Brinser for the starting nod Saturday at Central Florida.

Barrow averaged 46.7 yards on seven punts against the Gamecocks, but with a net of only 28.7 yards. He shanked his first effort, a 35-yarder, and several others had short hang times.

South Carolina’s average starting position after Missouri punts was its 45, and three possessions began in Missouri territory.

Barrow, a senior, ranked ninth in the nation with a school-record 44.8-yard average last year. He also finished last season as the kicker, stepping in for injured Grant Ressel and going 7 for 9 on field goals and making all 23 extra-point kicks.

This year his net punting average is 33.5 yards, 103rd best in the nation.

Barrow is accustomed to the black-and-white world of a specialist. He insists there’s no additional pressure this week.

“I’m no stranger to competition,” he said. “It’s going to be a fun week.”

Barrow lost the kicking job to Andrew Baggett during preseason camp. Now he’s in a fight to keep his job with a program he desperately wanted to be a part of growing up about an hour’s drive away from school. He was a four-year letterman in football, basketball and baseball, starring at wide receiver in football, also started at defensive back, kicker and punter for Moberly High.

When Missouri offensive coordinator Dave Yost offered a scholarship midway through Barrow’s senior year, it was an easy decision.

“I’ve always liked punting and kicking,” he said. “When Mizzou told me I could come here to kick – I’ve been a Mizzou fan my whole life, I love this place – I just jumped on the opportunity.”

Barrow was on the practice squad for two years before handling kickoffs in 2010. That year, coaches told him to concentrate on punting instead of field goals after Ressel earned 1st-Team All-American honors in 2009 after making 26 of 27 field goals and all 39 extra point attempts.

“It was a big change, not doing a lot of stuff at practice, just punting,” Barrow said. “Before I was running routes and playing defense, and I didn’t get to spend a lot of time with the art of kicking, really.

“I think it’s helped a lot having all that extra time to work on the form, to work on how you hit the ball.”

When Missouri struggles on offense, as it did while producing just 255 yards at South Carolina, problems elsewhere are magnified.

“He switches the field position,” receiver T.J. Moe said. “Trey, every once in a while, when he gets ahold of one, he can kick it 80 yards. Certainly, when we’re down there at the 1-yard line, that’s what we want him to do.”

Punters coach Andy Hill informed Barrow he would be competing to save his job. He’s co-No. 1 on the depth chart with Brinser, a redshirt sophomore.

“Overall, he’s punting the ball pretty good in practice, and I just want to make sure the way you do things in practice, in his case, is what you put on the field on Saturday,” Hill said. “I told him that competition should make you consistent and be able to make you focus better.”

Whatever happens this week or the rest of this season, Barrow won’t be ready to quit. He wants to kick professionally.

“I’m not ready to give up football yet,” he said. “I love playing, and that’s what I’m going to do. I’ve been playing with teams since seventh grade. I’ve loved it. I love it.”