Columbia, Mo. Darius Outlaw is taking over at quarterback for Missouri with the attitude of every athlete relishing the chance to start, but disappointed that it comes because of an injury to a teammate.
Outlaw, red-shirted as a freshman, is in charge after Kirk Farmer suffered a broken left clavicle last Saturday in the 42-24 loss to second-ranked Nebraska.
He will make his first start today against Oklahoma State (2-2, 0-1 Big 12) as the Tigers try to stop a three-game skid.
"Every guy wants this shot," Outlaw said. "This is mine. Kirk did a great job though, and I have big shoes to fill."
Farmer passed for a career-high 214 yards in less than three quarters against Nebraska, and it seemed like the sophomore was starting to click with Missouri's new offensive scheme. Then Farmer was injured, and the Tigers (1-3, 0-1) found themselves starting over.
"I'm going to go out there and compete," Outlaw said. "I'm going to give it all I've got, no matter if I have the worst game of the year or the best game. It's just not a me-thing anymore, it's a team-thing."
MU's offense demands that quarterbacks read defenses quickly at the line of scrimmage, and then track up to five wide receivers.
It is the area where Farmer, who was expected to be out at least a month, improved the most as the season went along. It's also the area where Outlaw really has to prove himself. He was the scout team quarterback last season, running plays spelled out on note cards as he mimicked opposing quarterbacks.
"This offense needs a quarterback that can make good decisions rather than just going out and playing," Smith said. "When he was on the scout team, reading plays off cards, he was fantastic because he does have ability, a lot of ability. But there you don't make decisions, decisions are made for you right on the card."
Outlaw has been marginal so far. He has played in three games, completing 8-of-15 passes for 61 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.