Freshman Drew Lock named backup, hype machine at all-time high

Drew Lock might play. Drew Lock might not play. But there will be hype for the freshman quarterback.
Missouri Tigers freshman quarterback Drew Lock (3) looks for a pass Aug. 15, 2015, at Faurot Field in Columbia, Mo. Courtesy of MU Athletics

Drew Lock can’t speak about the hype.

The freshman quarterback from Missouri’s Lee’s Summit High School attends class. The freshman quarterback attends practice. The freshman quarterback then heads home, no words spoken.

It’s not the spoken word of others, though, that’s thrown Lock into the spotlight. It’s the throwing he’s done himself, the one thing he can control.

For over 20 practices, Lock has strapped on the blacked-out helmet with a gold “Lock” embossed on the forehead in practice, and for each of those 20, he’s worn it well. Playing with the second, third and fourth teams, he’s excelled on the field, ultimately earning the backup-quarterback job ending a summer of speculation about his redshirt status.

Earlier in camp, Drew contacted his dad, Andy, about the competition.

“He called me a few weeks back and said, ‘Dad, I really feel like I can be successful this year,’” Andy Lock said. “I’m like, ‘Drew, if that’s the case, then don’t wait. If you can help the team and the team can continue to win then that is a win-win.’”

Andy has seen him play for years. His grounded nature, his level-headedness — those qualities stand out about Drew the person. But, for everyone else, it’s the accuracy.

Gary Pinkel says that’s his biggest asset. So does quarterback coach Andy Hill. Even cornerback Anthony Sherrills is impressed.

Chase Daniel-type accuracy? After a 14-for-19 throwing performance that resulted in two touchdowns in Missouri’s opening scrimmage for the 2015-16 season, the media, the fans and even Hill seemed to think so.

“I can’t remember what Chase Daniel did (in the scrimmages),” Hill said after the first open scrimmage. “I was here, but I don’t remember how great that was. (Daniel) was pretty ready to play, and nothing really fazes Drew either.”

The conclusion of Thursday’s final scrimmage gave way to questions about Lock redshirting, but those were answered quickly by Pinkel on Monday when Mizzou released its depth chart.

“At the end of the day, he played better,” Pinkel said of why Lock was named the backup. “This is not about (starting quarterback) Maty (Mauk), this has nothing to do with Maty. (Drew) deserved that spot.”

Maintained Production

A lot stems from the numbers generated in the multi-complicated scrimmages. In total, Lock accounted for 484 yards on 38-of-51 passing and threw four touchdowns and an interception.

Taking snaps with the second, third and fourth teams, though, those numbers can be a bit misconstrued. In comparison, Maty Mauk’s line was 31-of-56 for 300 yards and only two touchdowns.

After having a better stat line than the preseason second-team All-SEC quarterback, the hype should be understandable.

What separates the two? Any fan watching would say it’s the erratic style that Mauk plays — which is often effective — versus Lock’s calm demeanor in the pocket.

“Drew makes good decisions,” Sherrills said. “If everyone is locked up on the defense, he checks down. He doesn’t throw any risky throws, which is good for a freshman in knowing how to take his paths here and there.”

Lock didn’t throw an interception until the second-to-last drive of opening camp. Without it, though, he wouldn’t have had the chance to show the poise and the presence on the following possession by finding freshman wide receiver Ray Wingo for a 56-yard bomb down the field.

Brandon Kiley, a radio host for KTGR’s The Sports Wire, echoed many when it happened.

“He’s the truth,” Kiley said. “This kid is the real deal.”

Real Home Hopes

Lee’s Summit raised Lock. It groomed him for Mizzou.

Andy Lock said growing up there was key and it continues to be with the hype he faces heading into his freshman year.

“One thing that has impressed me about Drew for as long as he’s been on social media is that he understands to take (the praise) with a grain of salt,” Andy said. “There’s all kinds of love here in Lee’s Summit for Drew, and there couldn’t have been a better place for Drew to blossom.”

Jerry Lock, Drew’s grandfather, played football at Mizzou, and Andy sported the black and gold as a former offensive lineman. Now, Andy owns two restaurants, one in Lee’s Summit and one in Kansas City.

The “bar” part in Andy’s Summit Grill and Bar restaurant is where Lock-talk can be most prevalent. Prevalent as in daily.

“There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t have that conversation (about Drew) at the restaurant,” said Andy. “It’s neat as a father. It’s neat as a business owner because it gives Missouri fans an association with my restaurant, so it’s all-around awesome.”

At the bar, folks remember some of those Friday nights with Drew in the shotgun. They remember Lee’s Summit scoring 77 to beat Kearney in 2013. They remember the nail-biting win against Lee’s Summit North in 2014.

Those memories will never die; they’ll expand as they hear rumblings of Drew’s success at Mizzou. From others, not the man himself.

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