Heisman-hopeful quarterback primed for final act

Drew Lock has continued to learn and adapt throughout his collegiate career, even days before his senior season.
Missouri quarterback Drew Lock throws a pass during drills at a Missouri fall camp practice on August 16, 2018.

Less than a week out from the start of Missouri’s season, quarterback Drew Lock needed some advice about night game preparation. So his new offensive coordinator Derek Dooley called up Tony Romo.

“Night games, sitting in the hotel all day, you’ve been there since Friday, you get stagnant,” Lock said after Tuesday’s practice. “You don't want to look at your play call sheet all day, you don’t want to sleep all day. So we called Tony, talked to him a little bit about what he did in night games. He gave me a couple good pointers that I’m gonna use this year.”

Romo, a longtime Dallas Cowboys quarterback turned CBS color commentator, crossed paths with Dooley for four years when the Missouri assistant was a receivers coach for the Cowboys. Lock was happy to hear and learn from an NFL veteran.

Reasons to learn and adapt have never been at a shortage for Missouri’s star senior, and he didn’t count on that changing this year. That’s how he likes it.

“These last four years have taught me a lot of lessons, taught me a lot about myself,” Lock said. “If I were to look back on it and say if I wanted the easy route or the hard route, I’m happy to take the hard route … It’s just learning to adapt, really.”

One thing for Lock to adapt to: practice and game prep under Dooley. That’s come about smoothly this week, Lock says, thanks in part to his experience adapting.

“It’s my fourth year,” he said. “I should be able to be perfect at game prep.”

Another thing to adapt to: Heisman hooplah. Lock’s preseason odds may not be the highest to win college athletics’ greatest individual award, but he knows not to pretend that the murmurs aren’t out there. After setting a Southeastern Conference record with 44 touchdown passes last year, Lock’s name has been plastered across preseason watchlists.

“The preseason accolades are awesome,” coach Barry Odom said. “I hope the postseason ones match up to what they are right now, because that means we played winning football.”

Lock said being chosen to various award watch lists was a reflection of his growth and that of his team.

“I'm honored to have those,” he said. “I think if you look back two years and maybe even last year, I probably wasn’t gonna get those. So to change people's minds and kind of get on the radar nationally is a big deal. I think it speaks a lot for me but it also speaks a lot for this team, getting nationally recognized.”

The recognition on a local level has extended all the way to the most prestigious honor of all: a Drew Lock bobblehead. With his usual candor, the real Lock gave his review of the souvenir.

“Shows a little forehead,” he said. “That’s a different look for me; I’m not a huge forehead shower. See, I put some thought into it. The eyes are brown. I have very blue eyes.”

Lock was full of personality Tuesday as he has been all offseason, but enough talk is enough talk for the senior. It’s finally time for the quarterback to take the field this Saturday, and what follows is more than a farewell tour. Missouri, formerly a two-time SEC East champion, hasn’t been able to muster more than a seven-win season while Lock has worn the uniform.

“There’s a lot of things that have to happen this week and Saturday,” he said, “but if we were to win Saturday, we can’t soak that in and really enjoy a win, then have to come out and play another good opponent the next week.”

Edited by Adam Cole | acole@themaneater.com

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