Terrence Austin and Taylor Embree, the Bruins' leading receivers a year ago, are back. Gavin Ketchum, Nelson Rosario, Jerry Johnson and Antwon Moutra are options. Freshmen Randall Carroll and Ricky Marvray have added speed and competitiveness to the group.
"Right now, we've got a couple of veterans, we've got some nice young talent in and we're looking for the top five guys to step up and see who's going to be the ones to get the playing time right now," receivers coach Reggie Moore said.
Here's a quick Q&A with Moore.
It seems the group in the middle - Rosario, Johnson, Moutra - has some question marks...
"Those guys had the opportunity to play last year. Taylor Embree has been a pleasant surprise for us – he's steady, makes plays for us. He was a Pac-10 all-freshman kind of guy. We think he's stable. We're hoping that Nelson Rosario kind of comes around. Jerry Johnson has a lot of talent. Right now I think he's just mentally not up to speed, but some guys develop slower than others. Moutra is a work-hard guy and he's going to be one of those steady guys that fill in. Randall Carroll is a nice young talent – his speed is something that we needed and he's going to give us a boost in that. Ricky Marvray is a good player, too. Right now, those young guys, they have an uphill battle."
You have Austin and Ketchum, and then Embree has to be solid in that five, but Rosario, what's it take to get the consistency out of him? "Some guys, you know, they're very laid-back and it may take some of them a while for the light to kind of click on, to kind of realize that, ‘Hey, if I want to be special then I really have to work.' He's just a natural talent, and sometimes the naturally talented guys, they tend to, I want to say kind of have things come easy to them, so the work ethic has to be pushed on them. But he's capable of making plays."
How is that process going for you, as his coach?
"It's challenging at times. But that's why we're coaching, trying to bring the best out of each individual that we have. We're just going to have to stay on them. Personalities are different, you just have to learn to manage them."
Is Johnson similar?
"I think confidence is his biggest thing, because he has the talent. It's just having that confidence. Once he figures it out, I think he'll be a real talent, too."
You have the freshmen, Carroll and Marvray. Can they put a lot of pressure on the older guys?
"It's a process. It's only been three days and things happen sometimes. Guys get injured, whatever. So, now is not the time for us to say, ‘Hey, this guy is ahead of this guy.' Right now they're still learning and trying to figure things out and once they do that then you'll see who can play fast right now, who needs a little more time."
The veteran guys, were you pleased with the way they came back from the summer?
Mentally, they're understanding a little more. It's their second year in the offense and we're just trying to make sure that we're mentally understanding what we're doing. Terrence is going to be a special player. Gavin is steady, he's the biggest guy that I have and he's been around, he's played a lot of football. So those guys are quite naturally going to help us out."
So you let them all scramble around for a while...
"There gets to be a point, not right now, but closer to the 24th, closer to that scrimmage, where we have to start game-planning for San Diego State. During that time we're going to have to figure out who our main guys are going to be for this year and hopefully some of those young guys will be in the mix. You want to see what they have and you want to see, barring any unforeseen injuries, you need to have those guys ready in case something does go wrong. Once they learn it they'll play a little faster, but they're pretty sharp. It's a pretty sharp bunch."
Where does Morrell Presley fit?
"He's kind of in the middle. He's right now working with the tright ends. He does a little bit of wide receiver stuff, but not a whole lot."
In the spring, he had some problems catching the ball. What work have you had him doing?
"He did some stuff this summer – tennis balls and they do the Juggs machine. The key is you just have to catch a bunch of balls. He has the ability, it's just right now he's playing kind of hard and he's not relaxed mentally with what he's doing. That's the big thing."