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August 5, 2010Wide receivers coach John Morton is the lone coaching holdover from the Pete Carroll era.
This season Morton has a very balanced mix of receivers at his disposal, with talented true freshmen, savvy veterans, speedy split ends and slot guys with size.
"The first day went awesome," Morton said about the first practice of the fall. "We have some great competition at the position, obviously you can see that. They made a lot of good plays and the freshmen did a good job today.
"I love the competition, it is going to bring out the best in everybody."
Freshman Kyle Prater showed what he could do in the spring, but this was the first official practice for the other two five-star receivers in this class, Robert Woods and Markeith Ambles.
"I thought they did a really good job for the first day," Morton said. "Obviously they need to make some adjustments here and there, but they will pick it up. We are rolling with installation so there is a lot to do over the next few days and their heads are spinning right now."
After one route, Morton got on Prater for not finishing the drill and running with the ball past the imaginary end zone.
"I just got to remind them," he said. "We critique effort first so they just have to make sure they go hard on every single play."
To offset the youth movement among the receivers, senior Ronald Johnson leads a pack of eager veterans that are ready to make a mark in the Pac-10 this season.
"I think Rojo is playing with a lot more confidence," Morton said. "He has a good feel for the offense after being here for four years and he is coming into his own."
Johnson has also grown into a leader during the offseason for the new faces in the group.
"No doubt, he has done an unbelievable job during the summer working with the young guys and doing extra work," Morton said. "In fact, all the veterans have helped those guys out."
The tight ends are another position group with a trio of talented newcomers. Numbers were tight for that unit in the spring, so David Ausberry was moved to tight end strictly for depth purposes.
Now that the tight ends have filled out, Morton is happy to welcome the 6-foot-4, 235-pound Ausberry back into the mix.
"He's a wide receiver. He is going to play wide receiver. We've got plenty of tight ends."
Stay tuned to USCFootball.com for more updates from fall camp.