Alexander anticipates bigger role in offense

Friday, August 17, 2007
Missouri receiver Danorio Alexander participated in drills at a recent practice in Columbia, Mo. (L.G. PATTERSON ~ Associated Press)

The sophomore receiver has moved to the top of the depth chart.

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- After a productive freshman season, Danario Alexander is at the top of the depth chart for Missouri wide receivers.

Alexander had 15 catches for 251 yards and a touchdown in 2006. In preseason practice, he's turning heads while working at the No. 1 spot at the H-receiver position.

"He's certainly a playmaker," coach Gary Pinkel said after a scrimmage Monday in which Alexander caught three passes for 79 yards.

A year ago, the Marlin, Texas, native wasn't even sure if he'd play or redshirt. It was a scrimmage at the end of fall camp in 2006 that helped him make the team.

Still, Alexander didn't come on until the end of last season, after Will Franklin tore his labrum against Iowa State. Over the final four games, Alexander caught 11 passes for 211 yards, including a 74-yard touchdown catch in the Sun Bowl loss to Oregon State.

"That's that year that everyone goes through," he said. "It's a different speed of the game -- the game is different. It takes a year for some people to adjust to that level."

Franklin, a senior, is coming off back-to-back seasons with at least 40 catches. Franklin and Alexander join a group of receivers that includes the tight end tandem of Martin Rucker and Chase Coffman, both of whom topped 50 catches last season, and Jared Perry, who had 37 catches as a freshman in 2006.

"It's just hard work," Alexander said. "I came in with the mindset that if I could work hard, I could start, and it's happening right now."

Alexander spent the offseason adding weight. At 6-foot-5 and 210 pounds, he's quarterback Chase Daniel's largest target outside of Rucker and Coffman.

Daniel said that with the talent Missouri has at wide receiver, somebody is bound to be open.

"If they want to double-team Will or you want to double-team both of our tight ends, that leaves probably their fourth or fifth [defensive back] on Danario. He's going to get open either way," Daniel said.

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