On Saturday in Missouri's season opener against Miami (OH), sophomore receiver Marcus Lucas garnered his first career TD reception, when he hauled in a James Franklin pass in the back of the end zone, to extend Missouri's lead to 17-6. On Monday, ShowMeMizzou.com spoke with Lucas, and he talked about catching his first TD pass.
"It felt great! It was definitely something I've been waiting on since last year," said Lucas. "You've just got to wait for your time. And, when the time comes, make the play. That's what I did! It felt really good to help out the team. And, it came at a good time in the game, so it made me really happy!"
Lucas said that he hopes that it will be the first of many.
"Yeah, definitely. That's what you hope for," said Lucas. "That's what everyone, the receivers, are playing for; to score, and be able to help the offense in any way that we can."
Lucas cited all of the work that he has put in as a major factor in his increased confidence.
"You hope that the work pays off," said Lucas, who went on to talk about what he's gotten better at this year. "I feel like my consistency, being able to make the plays day in and day out, and being a play maker on the field, has allowed me to push up the depth chart. I'm playing a lot faster, which is what Coach Hill wanted me to do this year. That's really helped me."
Lucas identified blocking as the area where he needs the most improvement.
"Blocking has been a weakness of mine since high school," admitted Lucas. "Being physical out there on the outside is something that I continue to work on every day. That's probably the main thing that I need to work on.............................................. It's moving your feet to get into position. That's probably one of the main things. And, just being physical. Going out to hit them, instead of letting the hit come to you."
Lucas has become freinds with his QB, James Franklin. He talked about how their relationship has developed.
"Last year, we would joke around, when we were both behind on the depth chart, we used to say, if we get in there, let's get a touchdown," explained Lucas. "In the off-season, we became better friends, off of the field. Definitely, the chemistry is there! We're going to continue to build off of it, and just go at it."
I asked Lucas to describe the TD pass. He said that the play was to the other side of the field, and that he was the third receiver in the play progression.
"One thing that Coach Hill always says is to run your route like the ball is coming to you," said Lucas. "When I saw James (Franklin) take a look to our side of the field, we made eye contact. I was passing the defender, and I knew it was there. He led me right into an open area, and all I could do was hold onto the ball, when I caught it."
Earlier in the day, Coach Pinkel responded to a question about Marcus Lucas.
"As you grow and you mature, you get better at all the little attention-to- detail things that make you a better player," explained Coach Pinkel, as he began to talk about the development of Marcus Lucas. "You become a better blocker, you become better at running routes, reading coverages, adjusting on the run, your releases, when it is very physical. I think it's a combination of all those things, and he is getting better. He's improving. He made a great catch in the back of the end zone, got blasted, and came up with the ball, which is great for a young player. He has to keep continuing to push himself, and keep working on the fundamentals and techniques to get better."
Lucas talked about holding onto the ball after he got blasted.
"Honestly, we went through camp, and our safeties come down hill just like that," explained Lucas. "We take hits like that every day. It wasn't like a huge hit that I hadn't felt from my guys out here."
Lucas gave some insight into the type of pass that Franklin throws.
"It's something that he's going to get used to," began Lucas, talking about the passes that his QB throws. "It was his first game, a little timid, and everything like that. At practice, a different ball is going to come for a different play. Depending on where you're at (on the field), how he's going to run you, and different things like that. He's gives you a chance to catch the ball......................................... Depending on the play, he'll give it a different bend. If he's got to get it in there, fit it in between three guys, like you've seen him do, then he'll do that. If you're open, running the field, he'll put it where you can catch it and make a play."
Lucas talked about his fellow 2010 class of receivers.
"It's cool to see all of us getting out there," said Lucas. "Bud (Sasser)'s first snap, he made a catch on his first play as a Tiger. That was cool to see! Jimmie (Hunt) and I were more excited than he is for his first catch! We have a great friendship outside the field. Jimmie's is coming. He's working his way onto the field. When it happens, I know he's going to be able to go out there and contribute."
Finally, I asked Lucas about the ASU game, coming up this Friday.
"It's a big game," said Lucas. "Two good teams playing each other. With the quick turnaround, guys are putting their preparation into overdrive............................................ We're just all trying to get ready, get our bodies recovered......................................... We've got to get better from last week."