Tag Archives: Corbin Berkstresser

Mauk stands out in Black and Gold game

Photos by Daniel Shapiro
Story by Mary Kate Burgess


Mauk more comfortable as Missouri QB 

By The Associated Press

COLUMBIA — Walking to practice one day this spring, Maty Mauk let his mind wander.

The Missouri quarterback thought about the “little things” that have changed in the first few practices of his second season playing with the Tigers, such as throwing a pass before a receiver cuts across the field, rather than after.

“The speed of the game went way down for me and now I can just go out there and be me,” Mauk said.

Even if he wasn’t quite himself last fall, Mauk impressed nearly everyone during his freshman season. He started four Read more of this post

Backup QBs Mauk and Thompson in the spotlight for Missouri, S. Carolina

By The Associated Press

Maty Mauk (7) is protected in the pocket during Missouri's game against Florida on Saturday, Oct. 10, 2013.

Maty Mauk (7) is protected in the pocket during Missouri’s game against Florida on Saturday, Oct. 10, 2013.

COLUMBIA, Mo. — A pair of backup quarterbacks will have a big say in the Southeastern Conference East Division race this weekend.

After defeating Florida 36-17 in his first career start, Missouri redshirt freshman Maty Mauk again leads the No. 5 Tigers as James Franklin recovers from a separated throwing shoulder. Opposing him will be South Carolina junior Dylan Thompson, who hopes to save the No. 20 Gamecocks’ season as Connor Shaw looks on with a sprained left knee.

Mauk gave Missouri a two-game cushion in the division last week by throwing for 295 yards against a Gators defense that previously allowed only 152 passing yards per game.

“If you watched him play in high school, that’s what he looked like,” coach Gary Pinkel said. “The bigger the game, the Read more of this post

Mizzou football concludes spring practices with Black & Gold Game

Story by John Guminski
Photos by Karen Mitchell

Offensive lineman Taylor Chappell (62) holds off defensive lineman Michael Sam (52) as Marcus Murphy (6) turns up field for a small gain.

Offensive lineman Taylor Chappell (62) holds off defensive lineman Michael Sam (52) as Marcus Murphy (6) turns up field for a small gain.

The Tigers took to Faurot Field for the first time in 2013 to play the annual Black & Gold Game. More than 18,000 fans got their first look at the newest Tigers Saturday, with the offensive and defensive starters playing against the reserves during the first half. The reserves were spotted a 14-0 lead to start the game. After halftime, the second string played against the rest of the players on the depth chart.

The scoring started in the first quarter when Marcus Murphy ran for 18 yards down to the 5-yard line. He scored a touchdown on the next play. In the second quarter, James Franklin found Russell Hansborough on a 31-yard screen that went to the 1-yard line. Running back Henry Josey punched the ball over the goal line. Josey received a large cheer from the crowd after missing the 2012 season with an injured knee.

The defensive replacements in the second half stood tall, and the game went scoreless until the end of the fourth quarter. With under a minute remaining, Andrew Stevens scored to give the offense a 21-14 lead that stood until the final whistle.

The game was the conclusion of 15 spring practices. Maty MaukDorial Green-Beckham and Shane Ray were among the winners in the most improved category for the spring, which was announced at halftime.

Pinkel was very happy with his team’s overall progress during this spring.

“When we decide the most improved, it is usually easy to point to one guy at a certain position,” he said. “This year is one of those years that at almost every position it could have been two or three players. When that happens, that’s good. That means you have a lot of players that are getting better and showing themselves in a good way.”

All three quarterbacks know that it will be an open competition for the starting job in the fall. Franklin began the game with the No. 1 offense, but all three quarterbacks got time with the starters. Mauk threw two interceptions in quick secession during the first half but improved as the game went along.

“I know were going into summer ball now,” Mauk said. “They said we’re still going to still be competing, and they aren’t going to let us know until the first game. I’m excited, and I have to know what I have to work on, and that will start in workouts on Monday.”

Players start individual workouts on Monday.

The Tigers’ first game is scheduled to be at home against Murray State on Saturday August 31.

Quarterback statistics from the Black & Gold Game

James Franklin played with the starters in Saturday's spring game.

James Franklin played with the starters in Saturday’s spring game.

James Franklin Maty Mauk Corbin Berkstresser
Completion % 60 35 50
Passing Yards 80 72 93
Rushing Yards 2 27 0
Touchdowns 0 0 0
Interceptions 0 2 2

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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 holds first extended scrimmage of the spring

By Matt Fairburn

While some attention surrounding the Missouri football team’s spring camp has been on the quarterback competition, it was the defense that got the job done in the team’s first extended scrimmage, claiming a 24-10 victory over the offense. The score was based on a non-traditional scoring system specific to the scrimmage which rewarded points to each side based on important plays.

Led by senior defensive lineman Michael Sam, the Tiger defense spent plenty of time in the backfield, collecting four sacks and forcing three turnovers. Sam, who had four and a half sacks this past seaspn, collected a sack and a half in Saturday’s scrimmage to go with a tackle for a loss, forced fumble and fumble recovery.

On offense, James Franklin, Maty Mauk and Corbin Berkstresser split reps evenly with the first, second and third team players. Franklin and Mauk separated themselves on Saturday, as each threw a touchdown pass and an interception while Mauk also scrambled for a touchdown.

Mauk showed off his athleticism during the scrimmage, leading all players with 81 rushing yards on eight attempts.

“Maty’s mobility, that’s kind of just the way he is,” coach Gary Pinkel said. “That’s just part of who he is, his makeup. He’s got great feet, he can run, he’s got good speed. You can buy time, extend the play and make things happen.”

Mauk also completed 11 of 19 passes for a team-high 140 yards. Franklin went 13 for 23 passing with 115 yards, including a 25-yard touchdown pass to Dorial Green-Beckham, who led all receivers with seven catches and 81 yards. Berkstresser, meanwhile, lagged behind the pack, connecting on just eight of his 22 passes for 52 yards.

The Tigers may not have a settled situation at quarterback, but the rushing attack is rounding into form. Henry Josey opened up the scrimmage with a 17-yard run as, he works his way back from a knee injury that has kept him out of games since 2011.

“Today was a big step for me,” Josey said.

In total, the offense had four touchdowns on Saturday morning, as reserve running backs Greg White and Miles Drummond found the endzone

Missouri will have one more scrimmage before the Black and Gold Game on April 20.

COMMENTARY: Missouri’s 2012 season didn’t live up to the hype, leaves many questions for 2013

By Joe Vozzelli

James Franklin throws

Quarterback James Franklin warms up before the Kentucky game in October. Offensive coordinator David Yost, left, and coach Gary Pinkel look on.

Missouri’s blowout loss to Texas A&M may sting more than any other defeat this season in the minds of Missouri fans.

Missouri didn’t have a chance in that game. Heisman hopeful Johnny Manziel had a highlight reel game, burning Missouri’s defense several times, giving Texas A&M a 42-0 lead before Missouri scored in the waning seconds of the first half.

Like Missouri, the Aggies are in their inaugural Southeastern Conference season. Missouri finished 5-7, wasn’t ranked all year and won’t go to a bowl — snapping a streak of seven straight bowl appearances. Texas A&M finished 10-2, is ranked No. 9 and might go to a BCS bowl game.

Read more of this post

Pinkel dispels retirement talk, says team won’t make significant changes next season

By Joe Vozzelli

Missouri coach Gary Pinkel cleared up any doubt about his future as the leader of the football program, despite rumors to the contrary

After a disappointing inaugural Southeastern Conference season, in which Missouri finished 5-7 and missed out on a bowl for the first time since 2004, rumors surfaced on the social media site Twitter that Pinkel would announce his retirement yesterday.

He didn’t make any such announcement yesterday or when he met with reporters today at the Mizzou Athletics Training Complex in Columbia. He opened up the press conference without any mention of his future. He only talked about his future when someone asked him about it.

When asked if he had any “indecision” about returning as Missouri’s head coach next season, Pinkel had a one-word answer.

“No,” he said.

Read more of this post

‪Manziel shreds Mizzou defense, Texas A&M cruises to 59-29 win

By Joe Vozzelli

As Missouri players walked off the turf at Kyle Field at the end of another blowout loss, they watched as their fellow newbies in the Southeastern Conference celebrated a 59-29 win and a 10-win season.

Saturday’s game at College Station, Texas, was about two teams that went in opposite directions in their first SEC seasons. Texas A&M finished 10-2 and 6-2 in the conference, is ranked in the Top 10 and may go to a BCS bowl game.

Missouri finished under .500, failed to win consecutive games — something that hasn’t happened since 2001 — and was never ranked in the Top 25 all year.

The frustration of missing bowl eligibility was felt by Kendial Lawrence. “The last three years I’ve been here we always went to a bowl game,” Lawrence said to the AP. “So this is tough to end this way.”

After a season of injuries, close losses and failed expectations, Missouri’s inaugural SEC season will go down as a dud.

For a brief while on Saturday, it looked like Texas A&M was in trouble.

Star quarterback Johnny Manziel lay down on the field, grabbing his left knee, as the crowd hushed to near silence.

On the previous play, Manziel escaped pressure and ran toward the right side of the field. Missouri cornerback E.J. Gaines grabbed Manziel and ripped the redshirt freshman quarterback backward. Trainers rushed out to the field to tend to the player Aggies fans affectionately call “Johnny Football.” A few minutes passed before Manziel walked off the field with a slight limp.

One play later — with the trainers looking at Manziel on the Texas A&M bench — Aggies running back Christine Michael slashed through the Missouri defense for a 38-yard touchdown to give Texas A&M a 21-0 lead.

Michael’s rushing touchdown was a microcosm of the Aggies’ 59-29 victory over Missouri Saturday: it didn’t matter what Texas A&M did, the Missouri defense couldn’t stop the Aggies.

Manziel’s performance against the Tigers could be his signature game if he goes on to win the Heisman trophy next month. If Manziel does win the award, he’d be the only freshman in the 78-year history of the award to win it.

He finished the game 32-for-44 for 372 yards and three touchdowns against one interception. He also rushed for 67 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries. His big game helped him break the Southeastern Conference record for most all-purpose yards, which was previously held by Auburn’s Cam Newton. Manziel finished the regular season with 4,600 total yards. Newton had 4,327 yards in 14 games in 2010. Manziel has only played 12 games.

“We don’t act like this is just real unusual that they scored some points,” Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said to the Associated Press. “It’s not. We’re talking about a great quarterback. I’m certainly disappointed we didn’t play better (but) the things he did to us, he did to a lot of people.”

Manziel missed one Texas A&M offense series — an Aggies three and out — before returning to the game. He seemed to perform better after the knee injury. With a knee brace on his left knee, he showed his ability as a duel-threat quarterback.

On one particular play at the Missouri 5-yard line, Manziel ran toward his left, escaped an attempted arm tackle from defensive end Michael Sam before making a hard cut back to the right side of the field. He unleashed a 5-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Mike Evans to give Texas A&M a 34-0 lead. After the play, Manziel saluted the raucous sellout crowd at Kyle Field.

Missouri (5-7, 2-6 SEC) failed to become bowl eligible, snapping a streak of seven straight bowl appearances, in what can only be described as a disastrous inaugural season in the Southeastern Conference. Missouri finished the season with a losing record for the first time since 2004; the Tigers finished 5-6 that year.

With one last shot to secure bowl eligibility, Missouri never had a chance Saturday and didn’t look anything close to the team that won three straight games against Texas A&M and two straight in College Station, Texas.

Missouri quarterback Corbin Berkstresser started in place of James Franklin, who missed his fourth start of the season. Franklin was listed as questionable on the injury report all week after he sustained a concussion during Missouri’s 31-27 loss to Syracuse last Saturday.

Berkstresser completed 20-of-38 passes for 276 yards and two touchdowns against one interception. He didn’t have time to throw the ball downfield for much of the first half, choosing to go for short throws. Aggies defensive end Damontre Moore and defensive tackle Spencer Nealy pressured Berkstresser for much of the first half.

But even when Berkstresser did have time to throw, he struggled with confidence. He threw several low passes, which didn’t allow Missouri receivers to gain yards after the catch. By the time Missouri’s receivers caught the ball, Aggies defenders were on top of them and able to make easy tackles.

The Aggies jumped out to a 42-0 lead in the second quarter before Missouri made a dent in the scoring column. Senior tailback Kendial Lawrence  — the Tigers’ only consistent offensive weapon all season — plunged into the end zone for a 4-yard touchdown with 16 seconds left in the first half.

The Rockwall, Texas, native reached a milestone in his final game at Missouri. He rushed for 87 yards on 16 carries and one touchdown to reach 1,000 rushing yards this season for the first time in his career. He finished the year with 1,025 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Berkstresser settled down in the second half when the game was all-but-over. With the Aggies leading 52-10, he completed a 74-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver L’Damian Washington. In the fourth quarter, Berkstresser scored on a 1-yard quarterback sneak and threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham.

Green-Beckham, the No. 1 recruit for the 2012 class according to Rivals.com, completed an up-and-down first year, which included a one game suspension after being arrested for marijuana possession in early October. He had a team-high five touchdowns this season.

Missouri’s 22 second-half points didn’t change the fact that Texas A&M was the far superior team. Missouri’s players showed that in their body language at the end of the game. They were hunched over with heads down. They looked beaten and confused.