Republished from the Jefferson City News Tribune
COLUMBIA — Quarterback Drew Lock picked up a win in his first start Saturday against South Carolina, but Lock showing poise as a freshman is nothing new to senior center Evan Boehm.
The first time Boehm met Lock, it was at a basketball game between Boehm’s high school, Lee’s Summit West, and Lock’s school, Lee’s Summit. Lock, then a high-school freshman, was on the court. Boehm was in the cheering section.
“Every time he grabbed the ball, I made it a point that we started the ‘Justin Bieber’ chant,” Boehm said, referring to Lock’s prominent, flippy bangs. “When he came over and caught a pass on the 3-point line right next to us, we just started going after Drew. And as a freshman, the way he stopped and shot it and made it, we just go, ‘Well, we can’t do that one anymore, guys.’”
Now instead of rooting against Lock, Boehm is snapping to him. And as a former freshman starter himself, he’s helping ease Lock’s transition into starting quarterback — a role thrust upon him recently after starter Maty Mauk was suspended indefinitely.
The day before Lock’s first start, Boehm recalled his freshman season when he “cut” on a play, breaking “the one rule you have on inside-zone” blocking.
“I said, ‘There was my mistake,’” Boehm said. “‘You’re going to make a mistake tomorrow. So what? Roll with it and go.’ He didn’t make many mistakes.”
Lock completed 21-of-28 passes Saturday and threw two touchdowns with no interceptions.
“Drew played his game on Saturday, and that’s really cool to see,” Boehm said. “Drew made the throws that he wanted to make, Drew made the calls that he wanted to make, and as an offensive line, we trusted Drew with what he did and how he did it.”
Boehm hosted Lock for his official visit at Missouri, and said he was surprised at how quickly the two bonded.
“Evan definitely warmed up pretty quick,” Lock said. “You thought that the older guys would kind of push you aside, being a freshman. That’s not at all what the University of Missouri did here. They welcomed me, and that was cool.”
Boehm and Lock played against one another once, when Boehm was a senior, and Lock saw the field as a freshman in mop-up duty during a Lee’s Summit West blowout.
“He tried to put a score on the board,” Boehm said, “and he just launched a pass, and I just go, ‘OK. Well, this kid can throw a football.’”
Boehm was just as impressed the next few years when he watched Lock play against his brother, Tyler, and Lee’s Summit West.
Lock was equally taken aback with Boehm, especially when he saw his demeanor on the field matched his reputation as a fierce competitor.
“I always watched him like, ‘Gosh, I hate that guy,’ when we were playing him in high school,” Lock said Saturday. “The one time I got to watch him play, I was pretty amazed by him, but now to take snaps from him, that’s pretty cool.”
The two kept in contact while Lock was still in high school, and Boehm told Lock he was more than welcome to hang out whenever the center was back in the Kansas City area — an offer Lock takes up now that the two are both at Missouri.
“When you’re a little stressed out you can come over and just chill and we’ll be some normal people for an hour and whatnot instead of focusing on football,” Lock said. “That’s a big deal. You’ve got to kind of (decompress) with everything that happened during the week.”
Although, coach Gary Pinkel points out his center-quarterback duo isn’t as close as was the norm in his playing days. Physically, at least.
“Back in the day, when I coached, you weren’t in shotgun, you took center snap right there,” Pinkel said. “So that’s a little bit different, there, although we need to work on that.”
Lock did take a key snap under center Saturday, and it resulted in a mishandled snap he corralled in time to hand off to tailback Ish Witter for a 1-yard score.
Still, the former rivals and Simone Award winners — a player-of-the-year honor given by the Kansas City Football Coaches Association — are 1-0 as starting teammates.
“We both go to the same school now, and we don’t go to rival city high schools that when you see one another you’re like, ‘Oh, whatever. This kid goes to Lee’s Summit or this kid goes to Lee’s Summit West or Lee’s Summit North,’” Boehm said. “We both play on the same team now, and now we’re rolling and we’re coming together as well.”
Lock seems to have gotten over the “Bieber” chants.
“Do you still hate me?” Boehm interjected Monday, pretending to be a member of the media scrum.
“No,” Lock laughed. “I love you now.”