COLUMBIA — Maty Mauk is playing a balancing act.
The Missouri quarterback knows he is the team's starter. He also knows junior Corbin Berkstresser and redshirt freshman Eddie Printz are battling to be his No. 2, but he doesn't want it to seem that way during practice.
"I don't want to be in their face," Mauk said about leading Berkstresser, Printz and the rest of Missouri's quarterbacks. He said he tries to learn from them as much as critique things such as footwork and pocket awareness.
Berkstresser and Printz both played with the second and third team offenses during Missouri's first open scrimmage Tuesday. The two don't get a lot of reps most days.
"It's a big difference going from playing 10, 15 plays in a practice to playing 45 to 50 in a scrimmage," Printz said.
Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said neither quarterback separated himself during the scrimmage. The two had similar stats Tuesday. Bersktresser completed 14 of 19 passes for 115 yards. Printz threw for 116 yards and went 16-19.
Missouri's receivers notice subtle differences between the two, though.
"Corbin definitely throws a little harder than Eddie, but other than that they're about the same," running back Tyler Hunt said.
Tight end Sean Culkin said Printz's timing with the receivers is Printz's biggest strength.
"He (Printz) may not throw it as hard as Corbin, but it's (the timing) gonna be the same for a receiver," Culkin said.
While Missouri's coaches look at other variables, Pinkel said he and his staff compare scrimmage stats when determining the depth chart. Because of that, a dropped pass or offensive penalty during a scrimmage can be all the more costly to the backup quarterbacks. The miscues can be frustrating, but Berkstresser said he tries to move on to the next play.
"Psychologically, you can't really worry about that," Berkstresser said.
The oldest of the three quarterbacks, Berkstresser played a role in recruiting Mauk and Printz to Missouri. He was their team liaison during both of their official visits while they were in high school.
Because of that prior relationship, Berkstresser doesn't think of himself as battling against Printz.
"In reality, I'm competing against myself more than anybody," Berkstresser said.
Whomever Pinkel names Mauk's backup will have a decent chance to play significant minutes this season.
The team used Mauk in designed packages last season in games former quarterback James Franklin started. Although Pinkel and offensive coordinator Josh Henson have declined to comment about doing the same this season, the team's recent injury history at the quarterback position — Franklin missed five games due to injuries during his three years as starter — points to the backup quarterback's importance.
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