COLUMBIA – When Jared Perry injured his knee last week against Kansas State, it meant he wouldn't be able to see game action again at Faurot Field.
Instead, redshirt freshman Rolandis Woodland received increased playing time Saturday in Missouri's 34-24 win over Iowa State. Woodland, who has played only sparingly this season, hauled in two catches for 10 yards, his first receptions in Big 12 play.
"It feels good, man," he said. "Many more to come. Just learning and progressing and taking what we do from practice on into the game when the time comes."
Though his statistics were overshadowed by the performances of senior Danario Alexander and sophomore Jerrell Jackson, the 6 foot, 3 inch Woodland gave fans a preview of future wide receiver talent.
"Coming in this week, Ro(landis) was really focused," Jackson said. "He was really determined to play well this game. And everybody knows that Ro has a lot of potential. He's fast, he can jump high, he has nice size, nice height."
Woodland said he knew Perry before coming to MU. The two of them spent time together at football camps before college and kept in touch, so that made it more emotional last week as Woodland realized what Perry's injury meant for both of them.
"It hurt me, man," he said. "Because Jared Perry's been a guy that I looked up (to). When I saw him go down, it just hurt in my heart. I knew I had to go in and go hard for him and for all the seniors."
Quarterback Blaine Gabbert threw for 337 yards in the win Saturday.
"I can't say enough about our receivers. They really bounced back after that loss of JP (Perry)," he said. "All week they stepped up. And then JP's really helping them out from the mental side of things. He's watching every play, every snap and just telling what he sees so they can make adjustments to their routes."
Jackson said he thinks Woodland has improved his skills since spring practice, when Woodland was more prone to dropping passes.
"I believe he bounced off that, but I'm pretty sure it was still on his mind," Jackson said. "He had a tough time around that time, but he really came through and helped us out today."
According to Gabbert, much of Woodland's development has been aided by assistance from fellow wide receivers.
"It's a process learning our offense," Gabbert said. "JP and Brandon (Gerau) have taught him everything they know. They're really students of the game and that's how Ro is starting to be."