6'0, 200, So.
2013: 68-for-133 (51.1%), 1,071 yards, 11 TD, 2 INT, 5 sacks (7.5 yards/attempt); 36 rushes, 263 yards (7.3 per carry), 1 TD
Bill C.: James Franklin went 9-1 as a starter in 2013, and even in the second half of the final game of the year, a good portion of fans were clamoring for the backup. While it was perfectly acceptable that the coaches kept Franklin in to finish out both the game and his career (and while Franklin made the coaches' faith pay off with a strong fourth quarter), it was also understandable why some wanted to see more of Maty Mauk.
We'll see all we want of the Kenton, Ohio, product in 2014. Any hints of a quarterback battle this spring were quashed when Mauk dominated and the backups did not. Unless further developments change this, the starting job belongs to Mauk until the final game of the 2016 season. This is a very, very good thing.
The Beef: Does it seem strange to anyone that Mauk is only 3-1 as a starter? Sure feels like there are more games in that resume. Such great memories from that Florida game, especially the first two passes of the game. The USC game had the 96-yard bomb. He ran all over UT and then threw TDs all over Kentucky. And let’s not forget about the offensive infusion against Okie State in the Cotton Bowl. At the end of the season, there was a tremendous amount to look back on and smile.
But ... there were certainly some areas upon which there can (and hopefully will) be improvement. First and foremost was improvement in accuracy in the short/intermediate passing game, which is of paramount importance within a fast-paced, spread offense. Delivering the ball to receivers in space will be important, especially if our receivers are a little smaller and more finesse than last year (or previously planned for this year). The first signs of that improvement were seen and/or understood from spring ball. Mauk took his 51% completion rate from 2013 and turned it into 60%+ over the spring. Should that trend continue, I believe we will see Mauk be successful and a bit more of a field general than last year’s gun-slinger.
countrycal: Maty came on the scene with the right-left punch to Florida and, for the most part, did nothing but move the ball downfield while he was on the field last year. He is not quite the field general as Chase Daniel (at least not yet) but looks to be a better runner with the ball once he gets flushed out of the pocket. I think he will also throw downfield more than Chase, putting greater pressure on the defensive backfield. A year’s experience should give him better understanding of the defenses he will face. I anticipate a much higher completion percentage this year and the ability by the end of the season to watch the defenses during the snap count to predetermine where he will be going with the play. If he gets anywhere close to Daniel’s ability to do that, the Tigers are going to have one deadly offense.
switzy227: Maty Mauk may well put to bed - for a season, at least - the canard that the most popular player on the team is the backup QB. Mauk is a star in the making (media and field) and should prove one of the top QBs in the league this season, if his improvement in spring ball is any indication. Given his success against quality competition last year, I am just about as comfortable going into this season as I ever was with James Franklin - and I really liked James Franklin.
Bill C.: In Mauk's first start against Florida, he threw a shaky interception and came close to throwing a couple of more. So for all we know, maybe he was lucky to throw only one more pick in 2013 and none in his last 70+ passes. But once you see him fit pass after pass into tight windows, you stop thinking he's forcing the ball and getting lucky and start to believe he's just that good. He could prove us wrong in 2014, especially if the receiving corps forces him to take some more chances. But damn, is the ceiling high.
wooderson: um yak mat