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KU receivers filling big shoes

LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Kansas' offense returns eight starters from its 2009 team, and two who left, receivers Dezmon Briscoe and Kerry Meier, were drafted over the weekend.

They took with them a combined 444 receptions, 5,549 yards and 49 touchdowns.

So, no pressure, guys.

Senior Johnathan Wilson and sophomore Bradley McDougald racked up over 30 catches each last season, and look to be the most obvious candidates to take over as the primary targets for Kale Pick, currently leading the race to replace quarterback Todd Reesing.

"Early in my years, I just kind of sat back and let the older guys do more of the talking. I took a bigger role now," Wilson said. "I’m a veteran."

Said McDougald: "I can be a go-to player. I want to show coaches that I’m working just like everyone else is. That even though I’m a young guy, I can be counted on in clutch situations."

For him, the spring has meant a move outside, away from the slot where he learned from Meier during his freshman season. He caught 33 passes a year ago for 318 yards but is still waiting for his first score.

"I’m not working against safeties. I’m not working against linebackers," McDougald said. "I’m working on faster corners that are up pressing, so working a lot of new techniques, getting off the line, getting off the jam."

McDougald went without a catch in Saturday's spring game, but the move outside should be simpler than playing both safety and receiver like he did as a freshman.

"I think Bradley can be a really good deep threat for us," Pick said.

He can't do that if he's stuck on the line. It's something new for him, and receivers coach Darrell Wyatt has shown each of the receivers plenty of tape on some of the NFL's best such as Larry Fitzgerald, Santonio Holmes and Andre Johnson, as well as a handful of receivers he'd coached previously.

"Donald Driver helped me the most, because of how he works," McDougald said.

McDougald and Wilson won't have to do it alone. Chris Omigie caught four passes for 97 yards and a score. Christian Matthews, who began the spring as one of six quarterbacks, caught the game-winning score for his only reception of the day in Saturday's game. But he impressed Pick in the process.

"He only played receiver for a week and beats one of our corners for a touchdown," Pick said.

Kansas won't throw as much as they did under Reesing, at least this season, but without Briscoe and Meier, there should be plenty of catches to go around.