Father of Missouri quarterback expects 2016–17 to be ‘positive step’ for program

Andy Lock: “Drew seems like a different kid.”

Missouri Tigers quarterback Drew Lock (3) winds up to throw the ball Sept. 5, 2015, at Faurot Field in Columbia, Mo.

“Gastro-pubby and laid back” sounds like the description of some swanky beachfront locale in Los Angeles, but that's how Lee’s Summit native Andy Lock termed his current project Monday.

As his son, Missouri sophomore quarterback Drew Lock, preps for his second season at the helm of a Southeastern Conference offense, Andy preps his third restaurant, Third Street Social. Why open a third food joint?

“I guess I’m crazy, I don’t know,” Andy said. “It’s just my competitive, entrepreneurial spirit. I just can’t sit still, and if you’ve got a couple restaurants you feel like you’ve got a handle on, I guess it feels like it’s time to do another. I don’t know when that stops, though, but that’s where we are right now.”

A year ago, things were much different. In a conversation with The Maneater last August, Andy spoke of his son Drew, whose playing status was up in the air as questions remained regarding a possible redshirt.

Andy said then that his son thought he could play early, and as it turned out, the 6-foot-4 quarterback who placed fifth two years ago in the Elite 11, the U.S.' premier and original quarterback competition for high school quarterbacks across the nation, threw 10 times in the season opener against Southeast Missouri and 15 times in the following three games. Then, after starting quarterback Maty Mauk was suspended and ultimately kicked off the team for violating team rules, Drew was handed the starting job.

The kid whom many thought was the future was having to man the present, and through it all, Andy thought his son was ready.

“I felt like he was ready, and I still feel like he was ready,” Andy said. “I think there were some challenges we couldn’t foresee as the season progressed, but I think the South Carolina game was a good picture of what Drew could do. I don’t know what changed, but I feel like that game could’ve been a microcosm of what the year could’ve been.”

The challenges Andy referenced? Struggles in the running game and the shouldering of what he thought was a pass-heavy offense. In the South Carolina game — Mizzou’s only SEC win of the year, in which the Tigers won 24–10 — Mizzou ran for 163 yards, the third-most all year.

Andy said the production in the South Carolina game was the type of running threat Mizzou needed to be successful last year, but that “for whatever reason, we had a hard time running the ball last year.” The result would be numbers like 1,332 yards, four touchdowns and eight interceptions, Drew’s final 2015–16 stats.

“Drew was pretty confident after the South Carolina game, and then he went into the Florida game, and when you can’t run the ball, that’s a problem,” Andy said. “I don’t care where you’re playing — at home or on Mars — that would’ve been a problem for any quarterback in that scenario. Granted, this year he’d probably handle that scenario better than he handled it last year.”

Talking and fielding questions about this upcoming season, Andy became excited. At this point, Andy said his son “seems like a different kid.”

“He loves coach Heupel, he loves what he brings to the table having played the position before and having coached it at a high level,” Andy said. “There’s a lot to that and that’s something that, as a young quarterback, you need even more.

“It’s just the little details Coach Heupel brings to the table. Drew talks about how much they work on footwork, reading defenses, how much they’re in the classroom when they’re allowed to be and watching tape and stuff. So it’s an exciting change.”

Many have noted Drew’s physical progression from year one as he’s gained more than 15 pounds this offseason. Combine that with what Andy called “another step” mentally, Andy expects his son to have more confidence, which will ease play against tough defenses.

But even more than that, after everything that happened last year, Andy said he believes “there’s a lot of camaraderie things going on” within the team. Asked about those, Andy said his son has told him of things the team’s done off the field, becoming a closer, more tight-knit group.

If anything, Andy believes that will carry over to the field.

“One thing I expect is this team to play their asses off and play really, really hard and that’s a great first step,” Andy said. “I think they’ll have some success maybe where success isn’t expected, which is good. They’ll have their bumps — they just will — but I expect this season to be a positive step forward for this program and coach Barry Odom.”

Edited by George Roberson | groberson@themaneater.com

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