Florida is set to host Missouri this Saturday after an impromptu week off due to safety concerns over Hurricane Matthew, and coach Jim McElwain has made quarterback Drew Lock and the Tigers’ SEC-leading passing offense a focal point during preparations.

Though Mizzou has gotten off to a rocky start with a 2-3 (0-2) record, Lock has quietly been one of the best quarterbacks in the league, entering the game with 1,675 yards, 14 touchdowns and four interceptions with 24 completions that have resulted in 20-plus yards — a category that ranks No. 23 nationally.

“I’ll say this, we watched him in high school,” McElwain said during Wednesday’s SEC teleconference. “He was committed (to Missouri) but he is accurate and has a strong arm. He has an understanding of where he’s going with it immediately. His ability to know and read and get the ball out frustrates pass rushers … he has a long career ahead of him.”

Through five games under new offensive coordinator Josh Heupel, Missouri is averaging 78.2 offensive plays, which is the 13th-most in the FBS. That’s a significant increase from last season’s mark of 64.2 (125th), when the Tigers finished 127th in scoring (13.6 points).

“One thing is the pace they play at, you can’t just give them a look they know they can get,” said McElwain. “We have to give Lock some indecision at the line of scrimmage. The biggest thing is the ball in the air, it’s impressive. It’s about discipline and not losing your eyes. Their offensive line is not even giving penetration up front.

“They are just waiting for that one time where you fall asleep,” he added. “I look at it as a great opportunity for our secondary. Stay focused, stay in communication. It will be a good opportunity for our guys to show who they are.”

This one is set for a 4 p.m. ET kickoff in The Swamp.


Tyler Waddell is a news desk writer for Saturday Down South. For tips or questions, send him an e-mail at tylerwaddell4@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter (@Tyler_Waddell).