It was pretty apparent to anyone unfortunate enough to witness Missouri's 31-14 loss to Kansas this past Saturday that freshman William Franklin is the Tigers' most talented wide receiver and the team's only true deep threat. He made two fantastic catches -- his first receptions since Sept. 18 -- for 86 yards, showing great athleticism along the way.
Franklin's performance brought out questions about his limited playing time this year. Franklin did not see action against Texas, Oklahoma State and Nebraska, for what receivers coach Andy Hill called inconsistency in practice.
"It has been kind of sporadic," Hill said. He seems to make some big plays when you get him in there. I think his game has developed...
"As a freshman, you'll have some growing pains, but he has practiced a lot better in the last couple weeks and hopefully he'll continue to do that."
The lack of intensity in practice appears to be Franklin's lone shortcoming. The solution is simple, Hill said.
"Practice like you play," he said, "and we'll find out."
Inside Mizzou chatted with the soft-spoken Franklin on Monday afternoon...
On getting a chance to produce against Kansas: "All season long, I've been waiting for the opportunity. They called on me this weekend and I had to seize the moment."
On if he expected to do more in his freshman season: "I expected a lot of action this year because of the fact that a lot of freshmen do not come in and work as hard as me. What I tried to do was make the travel squad. Early in the year, I got it. As the year progressed, the guy in front of me was taking care of business. So we can't beat that man off; he was doing what he had to do on the field."
On if his limited playing time disappointed him: "Yeah, but it also gave me a learning experience. I gotta go out there and work harder this offseason, try to beat him out and get a chance to show my talent next year."
On if he regrets not taking a redshirt season: "I don't regret playing or the decisions that we made. I don't regret it at all. It was a good one, going to see Texas and how all these other Big 12 schools are. It gave me an opportunity to see how the DBs are in the Big 12. I think they're gonna have a long next four years."
On if the coaching staff told him why he did not play much this season: "No. They never said nothing like that. I never asked; I just go out there and play when it's time for me to play."
On what he needs to do to move up the depth chart next year: "More hard work. I didn't work as hard as I wanted to. I'll just work hard so I can get to some bigger things."
On if junior tailback Damien Nash's suspension and the disappearance of senior tailback Tyrone Roberson will hurt the Tigers' recruiting efforts in St. Louis: "It may hurt. The good players know that the things Damien has done down here, besides the suspension, were good things. Tyrone was hurt when he played, the ACL and things. The good players are going to see that, come home and do what you have to do. It's not going to affect it as bad as people think."