SEC Media Days 2014: Unproven Missouri still confident in SEC f - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

SEC Media Days 2014: Unproven Missouri still confident in SEC football

Posted: Updated:
Missouri coach Gary Pinkel speaks to the media at the Southeastern Conference NCAA college football media days, Wednesday, July 16, 2014, in Hoover, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill) Missouri coach Gary Pinkel speaks to the media at the Southeastern Conference NCAA college football media days, Wednesday, July 16, 2014, in Hoover, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
HOOVER, Ala. (AP) — Missouri made a surprising run to the top of the Southeastern Conference's Eastern Division in just its second year in the league.

Staying on top might be even more of a challenge.

The Tigers lost a huge chunk of their team after finishing 12-2 last season, including 7-1 in the SEC. Only nine starters return, including just four on offense.

But new starting quarterback Maty Mauk was confident during Missouri's appearance at SEC Media Days on Wednesday. In his mind, this is no rebuilding year for the Tigers.

"People can say and do what they want, but we know what we have," Mauk said. "We have playmakers. We have an offensive line that is healthy coming back. We have a quarterback with experience and we have a defense that — people think we lost Kony (Ealy) and (Michael Sam) — but they obviously haven't watched Shane (Ray) and Markus Golden and Charles Harris."

Mauk earned quite a bit of experience last season as a redshirt freshman when starter James Franklin went down with an injury, making four starts and throwing for 1,071 yards, 11 touchdowns and just two interceptions. He also rushed for 229 yards and a touchdown.

Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said he wasn't surprised Mauk played so well in difficult SEC environments last season and expects rapid improvement this fall. He'll have three experienced lineman blocking for him, which should help.

"(Mauk's) a winner. Players know it," Pinkel said. "He's a remarkable competitor. They know it. They respect the way he leads because he leads in a very, very positive way."

There are some questions about who will be Mauk's primary targets this season in the passing game. The team's top returning receiver — junior Dorial Green-Beckham — was dismissed from the team in April.

Bud Sasser is the most experienced receiver returning. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound senior caught 26 passes for 361 yards and a touchdown last season.

But even with the question marks, Missouri enters the season with nearly universal respect across the league after they made their impressive run through the Eastern Division. The Tigers lost to Auburn in the SEC championship game.

Pinkel said recruiting has improved and the experience was "tremendously positive."

"But this is a new year," Pinkel said. "It's a great challenge. We want to continue to compete at a high level. That's our challenge this year as we go into year number three."

_____

Follow David Brandt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/davidbrandtAP

  • UAB SportsMore>>

  • UAB cruises to 48-10 win over Troy in season opener

    UAB cruises to 48-10 win over Troy in season opener

    Saturday, August 30 2014 10:29 PM EDT2014-08-31 02:29:34 GMT
    Cody Clements passed for two touchdowns and ran for another, while Jordan Howard rushed for two more in helping the University of Alabama-Birmingham beat Troy University 48-10 on Saturday.More >>
    Cody Clements passed for two touchdowns and ran for another, while Jordan Howard rushed for two more in helping the University of Alabama-Birmingham beat Troy University 48-10 on Saturday.
    More >>
  • Fans ready for start of football season

    Fans ready for start of football season

    Thursday, August 28 2014 7:45 AM EDT2014-08-28 11:45:46 GMT
    For some people, tonight is just as exciting as Christmas Eve! Thursday kicks off the college football season. Many fans have been counting down the days.More >>
    For some people, tonight is just as exciting as Christmas Eve! Thursday kicks off the college football season. Many fans have been counting down the days.
    More >>
  • UAB names Cody Clements starting quarterback vs Troy

    UAB names Cody Clements starting quarterback vs Troy

    Tuesday, August 26 2014 3:13 PM EDT2014-08-26 19:13:29 GMT
    UAB will open the season with Cody Clements at quarterback. Clements, a junior college transfer from Cerritos College in California, beat out redshirt freshman Jeremiah Briscoe for the starting job.More >>
    UAB will open the season with Cody Clements at quarterback. Clements, a junior college transfer from Cerritos College in California, beat out redshirt freshman Jeremiah Briscoe for the starting job.More >>
  • All other Local CollegesMore>>

  • Samford loses to TCU, 48-14

    Samford loses to TCU, 48-14

    Sunday, August 31 2014 1:10 AM EDT2014-08-31 05:10:40 GMT
    Samford loses its season opener on the road to TCU...More >>
    Samford loses its season opener on the road to TCU...
    More >>
  • Samford coach Pat Sullivan will not travel with team to TCU

    Samford coach Pat Sullivan will not travel with team to TCU

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 2:59 PM EDT2014-08-27 18:59:15 GMT
    Samford football coach Pat Sullivan will miss Saturday's season opener against TCU. The school announced that Sullivan has been advised against traveling by doctors while he recovers from offseason surgery."Unfortunately I will not be able to make the trip with my Samford team this weekend for our game against TCU," Sullivan said in a statement released through the school. "My doctors have advised me not to travel at this time due to a complication from a surgery earlier this year. We have an...More >>
    Samford football coach Pat Sullivan will miss Saturday's season opener against TCU. The school announced that Sullivan has been advised against traveling by doctors while he recovers from offseason surgery."Unfortunately I will not be able to make the trip with my Samford team this weekend for our game against TCU," Sullivan said in a statement released through the school. "My doctors have advised me not to travel at this time due to a complication from a surgery earlier this year. We have an...More >>
  • No. 8 Michigan State readies defense for opener against JSU

    No. 8 Michigan State readies defense for opener against JSU

    Tuesday, August 26 2014 7:54 PM EDT2014-08-26 23:54:33 GMT
    Mark Dantonio cares more about how Michigan State plays than how many plays Jacksonville State can run with its fast-tempo offense in Friday's season opener for both teams.More >>
    Mark Dantonio cares more about how Michigan State plays than how many plays Jacksonville State can run with its fast-tempo offense in Friday's season opener for both teams.
    More >>
  • Latest StoriesMore>>

  • Birmingham Police investigating homicide in Ensley

    Birmingham Police investigating homicide in Ensley

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 5:36 AM EDT2014-09-02 09:36:10 GMT
    One person dead, one injured in shooting in EnsleyMore >>
    One person dead, one injured in shooting in Ensley
    More >>
  • Two-story home destroyed in overnight fire

    Two-story home destroyed in overnight fire

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 4:23 AM EDT2014-09-02 08:23:37 GMT
    Fire destroys two-story home on Letson Farm Trail in McCalla.More >>
    Fire destroys two-story home on Letson Farm Trail in McCalla.
    More >>
  • Saban: Bama's QB competition continues

    Saban: Bama's QB competition continues

    Monday, September 1 2014 10:26 PM EDT2014-09-02 02:26:09 GMT
    Alabama still has competition for the starting job at quarterback. Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban says both Blake Sims and Jake Coker will play Saturday against Florida Atlantic. He says he hasn't determined how the rotation will work for No. 2 Alabama.More >>
    Alabama still has competition for the starting job at quarterback. Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban says both Blake Sims and Jake Coker will play Saturday against Florida Atlantic. He says he hasn't determined how the rotation will work for No. 2 Alabama.
    More >>
  • City of Clay to defend pit bull ban in court Tuesday

    City of Clay to defend pit bull ban in court Tuesday

    Monday, September 1 2014 7:14 PM EDT2014-09-01 23:14:16 GMT
    The city of Clay will defend its Vicious Dog Ordinance Tuesday morning in court. The city council passed the ordinance last year. It bans pit bulls. Mayor Charles Webster calls it the biggest safety issue in Clay since he's been elected.More >>
    The city of Clay will defend its Vicious Dog Ordinance Tuesday morning in court. The city council passed the ordinance last year. It bans pit bulls. Mayor Charles Webster calls it the biggest safety issue in Clay since he's been elected.
    More >>
  • Friday Night Blitz: Coverage lineup for Week 3

    Friday Night Blitz: Coverage lineup for Week 3

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:32 PM EDT2014-09-01 22:32:55 GMT
    Week 3 Blitz Game of the Week:MOUNTAIN BROOK vs HOOVER (The Met)Blitz Cheer:BESSEMER CITY at BROOKWOODBlitz Brigade:HUEYTOWN at MINOROther Notable Matchups:VESTAVIA HILLS at OAK MOUNTAINNORTHRIDGE at MCADORYHILLCREST at CLAY-CHALKVILLE CENTRAL-CLAY at SHELBY COUNTYDEMOPOLIS at CALERAMUNFORD at LEEDSCHILTON COUNTY at PELL CITYPIEDMONT at ASHVILLEMOODY vs SPRINGVILLEJACKSON-OLIN vs BRIARWOODTHOMPSON at SPAIN PARKHEWITT-TRUSSVILLE at TUSCALOOSA COUNTYCORNER vs FAIRFIELDGREENE COUNTY vs GORDOTHOR...More >>
    Week 3 Blitz Game of the Week:MOUNTAIN BROOK vs HOOVER (The Met)Blitz Cheer:BESSEMER CITY at BROOKWOODBlitz Brigade:HUEYTOWN at MINOROther Notable Matchups:VESTAVIA HILLS at OAK MOUNTAINNORTHRIDGE at MCADORYHILLCREST at CLAY-CHALKVILLE CENTRAL-CLAY at SHELBY COUNTYDEMOPOLIS at CALERAMUNFORD at LEEDSCHILTON COUNTY at PELL CITYPIEDMONT at ASHVILLEMOODY vs SPRINGVILLEJACKSON-OLIN vs BRIARWOODTHOMPSON at SPAIN PARKHEWITT-TRUSSVILLE at TUSCALOOSA COUNTYCORNER vs FAIRFIELDGREENE COUNTY vs GORDOTHOR...More >>
  • Member of biker club speaks about fight before shooting

    Member of biker club speaks about fight before shooting

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:29 PM EDT2014-09-01 22:29:44 GMT

    Police: suspect in fight before shooting into crowd

    More >>

    Police: suspect in fight before shooting into crowd

    More >>
  • Labor Day Moon Pie eating contest

    Labor Day Moon Pie eating contest

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:22 PM EDT2014-09-01 22:22:19 GMT
    Dozens of folks got their ''fill'' of a popular Alabama treat this Labor Day.Tannehill State Park hosted the largest Moon Pie eating contest. All total there were 65 people who signed up. The winner receives a cash prize of $100. But this is about more than money. Park administrator, Stacey Green says, "I thought at times it was about the cash prizes, because the adults will win $100. But we've had so many repeat competitors, that I really think they're more in it for bragging rights. I re...More >>
    Dozens of folks got their ''fill'' of a popular Alabama treat this Labor Day.Tannehill State Park hosted the largest Moon Pie eating contest. All total there were 65 people who signed up. The winner receives a cash prize of $100. But this is about more than money. Park administrator, Stacey Green says, "I thought at times it was about the cash prizes, because the adults will win $100. But we've had so many repeat competitors, that I really think they're more in it for bragging rights. I re...More >>
  • UPDATE: Car belonging to elderly stabbing victim found

    UPDATE: Car belonging to elderly stabbing victim found

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:07 PM EDT2014-09-01 22:07:42 GMT
    Birmingham police say a neighbor found the woman lying on the floor of her house on the 600 block of 39th Street South Sunday evening. They believe she was the victim of a burglary and was stabbed to death.More >>
    Birmingham police say a neighbor found the woman lying on the floor of her house on the 600 block of 39th Street South Sunday evening. They believe she was the victim of a burglary and was stabbed to death.More >>