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Spring football practice, 3.5.2016

Nebraska wide receiver Alonzo Moore (left), quarterback Tommy Armstrong and wide receiver Brandon Reilly greet each other at the first day of spring football practice Saturday.

A year ago at this time, Brandon Reilly had all of nine catches to his name as a Husker.

His potential was believed high by those who paid close watch to practices, but the truth is the wide receiver had only six catches of 85 yards (one real biggie late against Iowa) in seven games during an injury-riddled 2014.

It all came together in 2015. Reilly had 40 catches for 785 yards and four touchdowns, most memorably that trip to the end zone against Michigan State.

That's an average of 18.9 yards per grab. That was tops in the Big Ten, and only five other players with at least 40 catches averaged that much per reception.

A week into spring practices, it appears Reilly has picked up where he left off, particularly impressive with the way he readjusts to those 50/50 balls in the air.

"He's ready to go. He's champing at the bit to improve," said wide receivers coach Keith Williams. "We text a lot, we talk a lot about him improving as a wideout. It's his senior year. He's got a little taste of success so he wants to continue to get better and be the best wideout he can be."

Williams sees the same desire out of another wide receiver who broke out in his own way last year, sophomore Stanley Morgan.

While Morgan will likely be sidelined the rest of this week with a groin injury, he came out of the gates with a strong kick the first couple practices. After he caught 25 passes for 304 yards in his rookie campaign, don't bet on a sophomore slump here.

His coach will definitely keep challenging him.

"You can always get better. If you go watch tape, you can see yourself on tape and where you need to improve," Williams said. "So he understands that. He's not a satisfied guy in the first place, because if he was, he wouldn't have even come in with the hunger he had as a freshman."

Speaking of second-year receivers, Lavan Alston is back on the field, having recovered from a difficult knee injury in fall camp that assured a redshirt season.

Remember, Mike Riley's staff recruited Alston for a full year, back to when the head coach was at Oregon State.

Williams said Alston is moving well. "He looks to have his speed back. He looks quick. He looks ready to go."

Reach the writer at bchristopherson@journalstar.com or 402-473-7439. On Twitter @HuskerExtraBC.

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