COLUMBIA — The receivers on the Missouri football team are frustrated. They think the offense should be much more dangerous.
Fans think so, too. The Tigers have shown they have plenty of capable targets.
Kentucky (1-7, 0-5 SEC)
at Missouri (3-4, 0-4 SEC)
WHEN: 11 a.m. Saturday
WHERE: Memorial Stadium
RADIO: KTGR/1580 AM
Redshirt junior L'Damian Washington and junior Marcus Lucas scored long touchdowns against Georgia. Freshman Dorial Green-Beckham had an 80-yard score against Central Florida. Redshirt sophomore Bud Sasser scored the longest one, an 85-yard touchdown against Vanderbilt.
"We just got to take that frustration out on the field instead (of) on ourselves and on our other teammates," Green-Beckham said. "With the receiving group that we've got, we need plays like that to happen all the time. I don't see any school or any (defensive backs) that can really hold our receiving group."
But the only receiver with more than one touchdown is Lucas, who caught a short pass for a meaningless score in the final seconds of Missouri's loss at South Carolina.
Each member of Missouri's talented group of receivers has basically taken a turn showing what he can do. The problem is, not one of them has been able to repeat his success. Through seven games, the plays look more like flukes than a reliable source of offense.
Junior quarterback James Franklin, who sprained his medial collateral ligament in his left knee during Missouri's loss to Vanderbilt, isn't expected to play Saturday against Kentucky, but at this point, redshirt freshman Corbin Berkstresser has played almost as much for Missouri this season.
"We're comfortable with Corbin, and we feel like we can make a connection with him," Lucas said. "If us older guys and receivers can make those extra plays that we're not really supposed to catch or those linemen can make those extra blocks, then it will really build confidence in him."
Berkstresser also has a couple other things going for him. Center Mitch Morse is expected back on the offensive line after suffering an MCL sprain in Missouri's loss to Vanderbilt. With Missouri's week off, Berkstresser had an extra week to prepare for Kentucky. The Wildcats have allowed quarterbacks to rack up a total of 799 passing yards and nine touchdowns in their past two games.
So far this season, Missouri has failed to take advantage of favorable matchups. Washington and T.J. Moe cautioned that the team needs to focus on each play and not simply expect to have a big game. But the receivers are looking to help Berkstresser out this week. Green-Beckham said that sometimes the quarterback must be able to rely on receivers to bail him out.
"Every pass that goes up in the air as a receiving group, we've got to know that that's our ball. And we just got to go make those plays," Green-Beckham said. "Even if it's a short play or a long play, a high ball or a short ball. We've still got to make those plays no matter what."
Green-Beckham spoke Monday about trying to learn from his mistakes after his arrest and suspension for marijuana possession earlier this month.
"It was a mistake. All I've got to do is just learn from that and move on," Green-Beckham said. "(We need to) just keep helping our teammates out and never let stuff like that get in the way again."
The freshman wide receiver, 2012's top-ranked recruit, according to Rivals.com, said he talked with teammates about the incident and assured them that it won't happen again.
"I turn it into a positive thing; like, after it happened, I just thought about it a lot. Then I was like, 'All right, well, I mean, I've got to be here for my teammates,'" Green-Beckham said. "I can't let that get to me or let any of that get to us and our team. We need all of us to be on the same page, and all of us to be there for each other."
Supervising editor is Grant Hodder.