USF receivers competing for a starting spot

With the USF wide receiver unit being the deepest they've had in years, we got to speak with USF receivers coach Jerome Pathon. The Bulls first year coach talked about the depth of the unit, how the competition between the receivers is making them work to earn a starting spot, and that is bringing the best out of the unit.

In 2012 there's depth at the USF wide receiver unit and that is causing plenty of competition among the unit. With the first game of the seaso just days away we got to speak with USF receivers coach Jerome Pathon both on and off camera. Coach talked about the depth of the unit, how the competition between the receivers is making them work and that is bringing the best out of the unit.

Click here for the exclusive video interview.

Here's what was said that's not in the video.

In years past, injuries have decimated the Bulls receiver unit, but that's not the case in 2012

"Previously there were a lot of injured guys on the unit and now that they're all healthy, they're all fighting and jockeying for a position.  The way Coach Holtz has talked to our team in general. The guys who are out there performing on a consistent basis on a daily basis are going to be the guys who are going to play. I think that's why the depth chart is changing."

"I think some guys, once they got to a starting position, maybe they got comfortable in a sense, or maybe they weren't able to learn how to maintain that starting level on a day-to-day basis. That's what we're pushing for, and the consistency we're fighting for."

Pathon said the depth chart is fluid and subject to change and has done so often, as is the case with Sterling Griffin, who led the team in receiving last year, and true sophomore Andre Davis.

"As you know Sterling Griffin is the starter today with Andre backing him up.  And that has changed throughout camp. Andre was on top, and before that Sterling was there. The message we're primarily trying to send out to our guys is if you perform on a consistent basis at a high level, you'll be out there playing. You'll be starting."

On Derrick Hopkins listed as a starter over Victor Marc and Deonte Welch

"He's done an amazing job. His size has always been an issue in some people's eyes, but he's overcome those things that people knocked on him. His hands were a little suspect when he first came here and he's worked very hard on that. He's worked hard on his route running. When I look at him after I was watching him run his routes, he's probably one of the best route-runners we have. He's improved his catching and caught the ball at a 92-93 percent rate."

Who are the best ball catchers in the unit?

"The best receiver in the unit percentage wise would be either Andre Davis or Hopkins," said Pathon.

Ruben Gonzalez, who played as a true freshman, but has been dealing with a few minor injuries this camp and has a redshirt available, may be one of the guys who played as a true freshman but could get the year back.

"That's a decision that we're trying to figure out. He has a redshirt year available. He started out relatively well in camp, and then had a contusion on his right arm as well as a battle with turf toe right now. With the other guys playing at what we feel is a high level, it's kind of difficult for him to break in, even as a backup role. Right now, he's listed as a No. 3 at his position."

Pathon said that Chris Dunkley, a highly touted transfer is another receiver that has had a great camp.

"For us, one of the highlights and one of the most improved guys in the group has to be Chris Dunkley. He's done an amazing job. You have to understand that when you're a transfer and come into a new situation, you're dealing with new faces, and new personalities, and it can be a little overwhelming. Not only that but you're learning a new offensive system. Sometimes when you're a guy like Chris Dunkley, probably in high school, they said, hey, get open, do whatever you want. There's been no structure or discipline as far as the offenses he's been able to function in. I think he's getting acclimated to our system now and is getting comfortable with our offense, and he's starting to flourish. He's not thinking so much out there and is actually getting back to just playing."

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