Tigers ready to play

With less than two weeks before the start of the most hyped season since the birth of the Big 12 Conference, some of Missouri's key offensive players are getting anxious.

"Sometimes I've been looking at the calendar and I'll be like, 'Damn, we've got two more weeks left before the season," senior wide receiver Will Franklin said after Sunday's 90-minute practice. "Especially because of the way my year ended in '06, I want to get out there really badly."

Last year, Franklin's season was cut short two games early when he suffered from a torn shoulder labrum last November in the loss at Iowa State.

The offense dominated Saturday's scrimmage, scoring 10 touchdowns. Senior quarterback Chase Daniel, who said he doesn't mind the attention he's gotten heading into the season, threw three of those.

"It feels good," Daniel said. "I'm not gonna lie."

He spoke of his accolades, which include being on the cover of multiple Big 12 preview magazines and being named to the Maxwell Award watch list.

"It's all about keeping a level head and staying focused at this point," he said.

Daniel also said he was happy with Missouri's No. 26 ranking in the Associated Press's initial poll, released last week. The Tigers are also receiving votes in the USA Today Coaches Poll and were picked last month by the reporters who cover the Big 12 to win the North Division.

"All that shows that our program has some momentum and we're going to be a serious threat this year," Daniel said. "We know what we're capable of."

Senior tailback Tony Temple said the team is just anxious to play against a different school.

"We're all just ready to hit someone else," he said. "For months we've just been beating up on each other in practice and it's time to take it to another team."

Temple also feels like the 2007 Tigers will be better at communicating with each other than the 2006 version of the team because everyone on the team is so close.

"We're much more cohesive this year," Temple said. "We hang out with each other outside of football, which is big. We are all going to know where we're coming from this season when we're out on the field."

On a team where defense will likely always be the biggest question mark, Daniel said the offense would be capable of going up against anyone in the country.

"We have the weapons to score against anyone I feel like," he said. "I think we're going to be a lot more consistent this year, because so many people are back this year."

Franklin, Temple, Daniel and senior tight end Martin Rucker were the four most important offensive players last season, and they are all returning. Franklin said he's starting to count down the days until the Tigers can try and live up to the predictions made this summer.

"There's so much hype about this season that I'm just ready to get it started," Franklin said. "We're just all really excited right now."

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