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July 17, 2014

Media Days Roundup: Spurrier film airs Aug. 27



Four SEC Storied documentaries - including one about South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier - will debut on the SEC Network between Aug. 14 and Sept. 4.

Spurrier's documentary, titled "The Believer," will air at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 28, the night before South Carolina kicks off the college football season against Texas A&M.

The documentary was co-directed by country music star Kenny Chesney and Shaun Silva, a country music video director who has produced many of Chesney's videos.

"'The Believer' reveals the essence of the most competitive man in the most competitive football conference in the nation," according to a flier released at SEC Media Days on Wednesday.

A trailer for "The Believer" can be found here.

The SEC Storied franchise, which focuses on the people, teams, moments and events to tell stories of the SEC, was launched by ESPN Films in September 2011. The franchise will expand to 10 documentaries a year with the launch of the SEC Network on Aug. 14.

The documentaries will air on the SEC Network as follows:
Thursday, Aug. 14 at 9 p.m. - "The Stars Are Aligned" (Directed by Andy Billman)
Thursday, Aug. 21 at 8 p.m. - "Bo, Barkley and the Big Hurt" (Directed by Larry Weitzman)
Wednesday, Aug. 27 at 8 p.m. - "The Believer" (Co-directed by Kenny Chesney and Shaun Silva)
Thursday, Sept. 4 at 8 p.m. - "It's Time" (Directed by Fritz Mitchell)


MAUK STEPS INTO THE SPOTLIGHT. Though he has just four starts under his belt, Missouri quarterback Maty Mauk has the utmost confidence of his head coach and teammates.

"We're very fortunate to have a young player like him," said Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel. "That's why he did so well last year when we threw him in there as a freshman. There's a reason guys are like that. We're very fortunate to have him."

Mauk made a splash as a redshirt freshman last season, leading Missouri to a 36-17 victory over Florida in his first start and passing for 295 yards and a touchdown in the process.

"That was a boost that got me ready to play, and now my confidence is continuing to go up, especially with the receivers I've got to throw to," Mauk said.

Mauk, who holds several national high school passing records, went on to compile a 3-1 record as a starter last season. He passed for 1071 yards - and rushed for 229 more - and 11 touchdowns with two interceptions in limited action.

"I'm not saying it's going to be 100 percent all the time, but he's going to surprise you every week," said Missouri center Evan Boehm. "He's a playmaker."

The redshirt sophomore is already drawing comparisons to Johnny Manziel, the electrifying former Texas A&M quarterback who won the Heisman Trophy as a redshirt freshman.

"I think there might be some comparisons," Mauk said. "He's a playmaker, and I'm a playmaker. But as far as everything, I'm Maty Mauk. I want to make my own name.

"Yeah, it's nice to be compared to that, but I'm Maty Mauk."

Pinkel said Mauk has the "it" factor, and that he's matured into one of the team's leaders over the offseason.

"I'm not going to be quiet; I'm going to be out there, and I'm going to get my guys enthused and ready to play," Mauk said. "I think that's what a quarterback is supposed to do. You're the general out there. For me to go out there and get these guys to rally behind me is just something I have to do.

"If the game is on the line, I want the ball in my hand. I want to be able to make anything to happen."

Mauk spent this summer working on his passing accuracy, a weakness that was exposed in Missouri's 27-24 loss last fall to South Carolina, when he completed just 10 of his 25 passes.

A year after completing just 51 percent of his passes, the fleet-footed Mauk now considers passing one of his "main strengths."

"I went down there (Manning camp) feeling good, but when I came back, I really felt a difference," Mauk said. "I gained not just quarterback skills, but everything from huddle-breaking skills and leadership skills. This camp took me to the next level. I have already been working with some of the guys with some changes that I want to make this season. We even went over things last night, and we looked great."

Mauk said he's looking forward to changing Missouri's recent fortunes against South Carolina in the Tigers' first SEC game of the upcoming season. The Tigers play four non-conference opponents before making a Sept. 27 visit to Williams-Brice Stadium, where they lost 31-10 in 2012.


JOHNNY FOOTBALL TALK. Johnny Manziel was a large topic of discussion at SEC Media Days on Tuesday, despite not attending the event or even playing for Texas A&M.

"Is this the SEC Media Days?" Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin asked after receiving his second question about Manziel. "No, that's a great question about the Cleveland Browns. Anybody else got something?"


TIGERS SUPPORT SAM. Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel and his players had nothing but support for former Tigers and current St. Louis Rams defensive end Michael Sam, who announced after last season that he was gay.

"I'm very proud of Michael," said Missouri defensive end Markus Golden. "In my three years at Mizzou, I've always believed him to be a hard worker, and you always want to see guys like that be successful in the NFL. I'm happy for him, and I hope things continue to get better for him."

Pinkel looked forward to a day when players like Sam, who won the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPY Awards Wednesday night, weren't regarded as different.

"I'm very proud of Michael for having the courage to do what he did," said Pinkel. "Hopefully, five years from now, we're not discussing this - that this is not that type of a subject. But I'm proud of him for being drafted."

Missouri center Evan Boehm said Sam's revelation to the team before last season that he was gay helped them bond together, creating a chemistry that helped them earn a 12-2 record and the SEC Eastern Division crown.

"He trusted us with his secret," said Boehm. "And he trusted us with not going out and saying anything to anybody. I think that shows you the closeness of the team that we have and the maturity of the team that we have.

"That's what really kickstarted our season is, if he trusts us to do that, then anybody on the team can trust anybody else."

Sam shared SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year honors with former Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley after a senior season where he logged 11.5 sacks and 48 tackles.

He was selected by the St. Louis Rams in the seventh round with the No. 249 overall pick.



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