It hasn't been on par with the expected emergence of Ronald Johnson or the breakout performance of Robert Woods, but USC wide receiver David Ausberry seems to have come into his own this season.
"I've got no option but to work," said Ausberry, a senior. "That being said, when plays have come, I've made the most of them for the team."
Ausberry is third on the Trojans with three touchdowns and is averaging a strong 15.2 yards per reception in a limited role.
He is coming off a strong performance against Cal, catching four passes for 53 yards and one touchdown. Ausberry could have added a second score if not for a late miscommunication with Mitch Mustain at the goal line where the quarterback threw a fade as he ran a slant.
Last season, the Lemoore native played in seven games because of a stress fracture in his leg. When he came back in the spring under a new staff, Ausberry worked largely at tight end because of limited numbers.
"It was one of those things you've got to be mentally strong about, work your way back and see where it goes from there," Ausberry said.
With Marc Tyler limited and Allen Bradford, Dillon Baxter and C.J. Gable out Wednesday, running back D.J. Morgan saw extensive action.
"He's shown some explosion and some quickness," USC coach Lane Kiffin said.
The freshman is redshirting after tearing his ACL last year at Woodland Hills Taft, but could emerge in 2011 with the graduation of Bradford and Gable.
"If you can have a player redshirting like him and (wide receiver) Kyle Prater, it's almost like they are part of the next (recruiting) class," Kiffin said. "It's really exciting."
-The Trojans again went with a high tempo, no-huddle approach in practice in an attempt to prepare for No. 1 Oregon, even again running wind sprints afterwards.
Kiffin praised the conditioning of the Ducks, who have not allowed a point in the fourth quarter this season.
Whereas bye weeks under Pete Carroll were largely designed to evaluate younger players, this week has been all about Oregon.
"Our focus completely has been on getting our guys right that are playing," Kiffin said. "Our ones have taken more snaps than the rest of our guys combined."
-LB Malcolm Smith and OL Tyron Smith were among several players that did not practice Wednesday.
DE Wes Horton and Nick Perry were limited.