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Spring football: No visible No. 1 QB so far

Four practices into spring camp, the only apparent slow element of USF's high-tempo offense has been the installment of the edited playbook. Coach Willie Taggart's approach: Have his team master a handful of plays at a time.

As a result of this spoon-fed philosophy, coupled with the fact three quarterbacks are splitting reps, no apparent front-runner has emerged behind center. On Saturday, amid a steady, cool afternoon drizzle, senior Steven Bench, freshman Quinton Flowers and junior Mike White all took snaps -- often in that order.

"With four practices, and you've got three guys competing for a job, they don't get as many reps as one guy would like, but all of them are important...and they understand what it's gonna take to be the quarterback," Taggart said following the two-hour workout.

"I told them before, they're gonna pick who the quarterback is by the way they play; by the way they come out here and practice daily and lead our team and lead our offense and command our offense. That's gonna be the guy we're gonna go with."

Each had their respective moments Saturday.

White seemed to elicit praise from the offensive staff for noticing a defensive alignment at the line of scrimmage, then tucking the ball and scrambling to his right for a nice gain. Bench found sophomore WR Ryeshene Bronson for a couple of deep completions. Flowers threw a high pass over the middle that former QB Evan Wilson pulled down and converted into a 60-plus-yard TD in seven-on-seven work.

"Everyone's waiting on (the starter to emerge) and those guys know that," Taggart said. "And we're challenging them: 'Hey, you've got to come out and step up and be the guy we all know you can be.'"

SPEAKING OF WILSON...: Count Taggart among those who have been impressed by Wilson, a redshirt sophomore walk-on from Sarasota's Out-of-Door Academy who didn't take a snap his first two seasons on campus.

Taggart said Wilson expressed a desire to change positions, and teammates urged the staff to oblige him. "They just kept coming up to me like, 'Coach, I'm telling you, Evan's gonna be a player for us. He makes plays,'" Taggart said.

"With our numbers being limited at the receiver position, that's something Evan wanted to do, to come out and help the football team. And I tell you what, every day that we've been out here he's made a play."

DEFENSE BY A NOSE: The offense's installment of very few plays, combined with the defense's installment of very few checks, has resulted in the defense holding the upper hand in scrimmage situations after Week One.

"But I wouldn't say it's far (apart)," said Taggart, clearly pleased by the fleetness and energy displayed in new defensive coordinator Tom Allen's 4-2-5 scheme.

"It's easy to have a lot of energy when you're not thinking much. ... They can see things and now go play and don't have to think about a lot of checks and a lot of different things, and that's how it should be. ... And then the kids can play. They can play football."

ODDS AND ENDS: The Bulls adjourn for a week in observance of USF's spring break, and resume camp March 9 at 9 a.m. ... Another previously unheralded Bull shining so far in camp -- junior DL Clavion Nelson, whom Taggart singled out for his effort during the post-practice team huddle. ... Backup RB Darius Tice, listed at 206 pounds on the spring roster, said he's actually up to 215. ... Sophomore TB D'Ernest Johnson, addressing the media for the first time in his college career, indicated he's a first cousin of former NFL Pro Bowl RB Edgerrin James. The most significant piece of advice James imparted: "Pass-blocking is the first key to being a running back," Johnson said.

AUDIBLE: "I think Reilly Gibbons is gonna be a great one when it's all said and done. There's just something about the kid. He's really smart and he just understands the position. ... He's fast but he's not in a hurry, and that helps, especially up front. He rarely gets himself in a bad position and that's going to help big-time." -- Taggart on the former St. Petersburg Catholic star (and Stanford transfer)

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USF top scorer Corey Allen Jr. benched by NCAA

USF leading scorer Corey Allen Jr. has been suspended six games by the NCAA>

OCTAVIO JONES | Times

USF leading scorer Corey Allen Jr. has been suspended six games by the NCAA>

For all practical intents, the college career of USF senior G Corey Allen Jr. is over.

The school announced Saturday morning that Allen, the Bulls' top scorer (15.4 ppg), has been ruled ineligible for six games by the NCAA for receiving impermissible benefits at a previous institution. Allen arrived at USF in 2013 after two seasons at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, Calif.

The NCAA's decision does not affect USF's won-loss record this season or last. Whether Allen will be honored as an outgoing senior at next Saturday's home finale against Tulane remains unclear.

"Things happen for a reason," Allen said via Twitter early Saturday morning. "Gotta think about my future now."

According to a three-paragraph news release issued by the school, an internal inquiry initiated by USF determined Allen received improper benefits regarding tuition payments for courses he completed at "another institution" prior to his arrival in Tampa. …

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Spring football: Defining USF's new defensive terms

A fresh terminology has accompanied a fresh defensive scheme to USF's spring camp. For the most part, Mike, Sam and Will have been supplanted by Husky, Bull and Stinger.

While some of the changes in first-year coordinator Tom Allen's 4-2-5 attack are in name only, a few Bulls are adapting to noticeably new roles. In time, Allen's defensive glossary will become clearer (and probably longer) to us observers. For now, here's the abridged version.

Husky: The de facto fifth DB in the 4-2-5, a hybrid safety/edge rusher that replaces the strong-side (Sam) linebacker in a conventional 4-3 system. Senior Jamie Byrd appears the starter here, but you're also likely to see Jalen Spencer, Devin Abraham and Deatrick Nichols in this role.

Stinger: This would be the weakside (Will) linebacker in a 4-3. Veteran Nigel Harris was born for this role, Allen suggests.

Bull: This appears to be one of the two defensive ends, with the other simply called an end. "The stature or the frame of the Bull is kind of maybe an outside linebacker-type deal, whereas the end is a true end," said senior Eric Lee, who will play both.

Rover: Pretty much another name for strong safety, albeit with some nuances. "It's more of an aggressive safety," said junior Nate Godwin, currently lining up at the spot. "We play on the line a lot, but we also have coverage responsibilities. I like it." …

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Spring football: Hill absent as d-line transition continues

Bulls coach Willie Taggart addresses the team at the end of Wednesday morning's practice.

JOEY KNIGHT | Times

Bulls coach Willie Taggart addresses the team at the end of Wednesday morning's practice.

The defensive line's transition this spring from a 3-4 base to four down linemen continued Wednesday without one of its veterans.

Rising senior DE Demetrius Hill, a junior college transfer who collected 25 tackles and two sacks in his first Division I season last fall, hasn't appeared at spring camp and isn't listed on USF's spring roster.

If or when he'll return is unclear.

"He's got to go through some things that he's taking care of personally," Bulls DL coach Eric Mathies said after Wednesday morning's workout, staged amid light fog and cool temperatures. "We're kind of a wait-and-see right now with him."

Hill's absence leaves the Bulls with precious little experience -- but plenty of depth -- at defensive end. USF's switch to a 4-2-5 alignment means most Bulls projected for a weakside linebacker role are putting their hands in the dirt.

Among them: former local prep standouts Josh Black (Sickles), Juwuan Brown (Jefferson) and Vincent Jackson (Jesuit). All are sophomores.

"All those guys are now with me," Mathies said. "The way we play them, you're putting them in space a little bit, but they just have to be more physical now. That's the biggest part. ... You've got to bang every play, so that's a little different for 'em."

STING IN HIS STEP: New defensive coordinator Tom Allen said rising junior LB Nigel Harris, who led all of Division I in forced fumbles per game (0.55) last season, is a natural for the "stinger" position that replaces the weakside 'backer in the 4-2-5.

Harris, who arrived at USF from Hillsborough High weighing around 190 pounds, said Monday he's now close to 220.

"I think he's a perfect fit, I really do," said Allen, who recruited Harris when he was Ole Miss linebackers coach. "When I first put the film in, I got excited just thinking this guy is what you want. He's got the athleticism, the savvy, the moxie to get to the ball, and he's a great finisher once he gets there."

ODDS AND ENDS: Defense appeared to prevail during 11-on-11 sessions Wednesday, with quarterbacks and receivers often struggling to get on the same page even on short routes. ... Veteran OL Brynjar Gudmundsson, expected to be sidelined until after spring break while recovering from ankle surgery, practiced Wednesday. ... Strength coach Irele Oderinde mentioned former Countryside High standout Mike Love, a sophomore defensive end, as one of the Bulls who have made noticeable strides in the weight room. ... Walk-on Evan Wilson, a quarterback his first two seasons on campus, has switched to receiver and had a couple of nifty catches Wednesday. ... Weather permitting, the Bulls' next workout is slated for Friday at 9 a.m., with Saturday's practice -- the first in full pads -- set for 2:30.

AUDIBLE: "The way I envision it is guys that play extremely fast. And it doesn't mean they have to be the fastest guys on the team, but playing fast is confidence. It's your preparation, it's knowing exactly where my eyes are supposed to be and where my feet are supposed to go. ... And the second part is guys just flying around. I want the opposing team to think that we've got 12 on the field." -- Allen, when asked how he envisions the Bulls defense

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Spring football: Gibbons not eligible until '16

Former Manatee High coach Joe Kinnan (center) has joined USF as a volunteer offensive consultant.

JOEY KNIGHT | Times

Former Manatee High coach Joe Kinnan (center) has joined USF as a volunteer offensive consultant.

Former St. Petersburg Catholic four-star OL Reilly Gibbons made his public debut in USF practice attire Monday, but his first appearance in a Bulls game-day uniform won't arrive for another 20 months.

Coach Willie Taggart announced Monday that Gibbons, who transferred from Stanford last fall after appearing in only two preseason workouts for the Cardinal, can practice with the Bulls but won't be eligible until 2016. Gibbons joined the Bulls for Monday morning's initial spring workout of 2015.

"Why (is he ineligible)? You have to ask the NCAA that," Taggart said.

Gibbons signed with Stanford last February and took a pair of summer courses at the school but none in the fall. His family's request for a waiver of the NCAA's transfer rule, requiring players who move from one Division I program to another to sit out a year, initially was denied. That decision had been on appeal.

Gibbons' father, Shannon, didn't immediately respond to a phone message from the Tampa Bay Times.

DENSON OUT, KINNAN IN: Running backs coach Autry Denson's reported move from USF to Notre Dame still hasn't been confirmed by the Fighting Irish, but Denson was a no-show at Monday's practice, where Taggart worked with the ball carriers.

Denson, hired to replace Telly Lockette as Bulls running backs coach in January, was on the job barely more than a month when reports indicated he would take the same job at his alma mater, where he remains its career rushing leader. Taggart said no replacement for Denson would be sought until after spring drills.

"We have enough guys to get through the spring," Taggart said. "I don't want to hire just anybody for our guys. ... We're gonna make sure we get someone in here that's gonna be with us and be all in and help us get better."

Meantime, Taggart's high school coach, Joe Kinnan, has joined the staff as a volunteer offensive consultant. Kinnan won five state titles, including one with Taggart at quarterback, in 29 seasons at Manatee High. New Bulls offensive line coach Danny Hope was a Kinnan assistant at Manatee from 1981-84.

AU REVOIR, HUDDLE: As expected, the Bulls offense employed a much brisker tempo during non-padded 11-on-11 work Monday. In lieu of a huddle, calls were made at the line in an effort to get the ball snapped in 15 seconds or less.

All three returning scholarship quarterbacks -- junior Mike White, senior Steven Bench and sophomore Quinton Flowers -- took reps. Among the highlights: White's completion to sophomore Ryeshene Bronson on a deep sideline route. …

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Bulls rout Temple to clinch No. 2 tourney seed

A team shaping up as the best in USF women's history is proving it can win with more than one style, tempo or nationality.

On Sunday, the Bulls (22-5, 13-2) got a career-best 17 points from Portugal-born freshman guard Laura Ferreira in a 79-53 rout of Temple at the Sun Dome, securing the coveted No. 2 seed in next month's American Athletic Conference tournament. …

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Spring football: Which Bulls will break through?

Former Sickles High star Josh Black appears poised for a breakthrough spring at USF.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Former Sickles High star Josh Black appears poised for a breakthrough spring at USF.

Spring practice at USF commences Monday at 9 a.m., meaning some previously unheralded Bull will have Twitter buzzing by 9:30.

Bank on it. At some point, a less-regarded player will unveil a body or burst of speed transformed by offseason work, and observers will take notice. Eventually, he might log some first-team duty, then perhaps shine in the spring game.

And a March breakthrough will be complete. It's part of the reason God created spring football.

Just who will those individuals be? We can only speculate at this point. Here are some Bulls who could scale the depth chart over the next few weeks.

DE/LB Josh Black, So. This former Sickles High standout got his first collegiate game action at Cincinnati last October, and recorded a sack on his first career tackle. Exactly where Black will fit in new coordinator Tom Allen's 4-2-5 scheme is unclear, but we're betting he'll fit somewhere. Coaches are that high on him.

DE Kevin Bronson, R-Fr. A former Virginia Tech signee who never enrolled in Blacksburg, Bronson and Eric Mayes (see below) could fortify an area of great need for the Bulls, who will revert to a four-man front. Few might have benefited more from a redshirt year than this Delray Beach native.

WR Stanley Clerveaux, R-Fr. This 6-foot-3 Miami product, one of USF's more underrated 2014 signees, was sidelined last fall by shoulder surgery, but has been cleared for spring drills. Observers say he has added roughly 15 pounds since last fall, which would make him rangy and rigid. "When he gets mad and wants the ball, can't stop him," longtime south Florida recruiting analyst Larry Blustein told us last year.

OL Jeremi Hall, So. The Bulls must replace three seniors on the offensive line. Look for Hall, a backup guard in 2014, to fill one of those spots. Observers say coaches have been impressed with his offseason work ethic. His frame (6-5, 345) is fairly impressive also.

DE Eric Mayes, Fr. Originally a 2013 signee, this former four-star prospect from Sarasota Booker finally takes the field. Mayes attended a prep school two autumns ago and was deemed a partial qualifier last year. Considering the Bulls' depth issues at this spot, expect Mayes (6-foot-4, 240 pounds) to get a long, hard look.

PK Emilio Nadelman, So. There's a reason USF didn't sign a kicker in the recruiting season. This heir apparent to Marvin "Money" Kloss impressed Coach Willie Taggart while competing with Kloss last year. Now, we see how Nadelman fares with all eyes on him.

WR Chase Whitehead, R-Fr. We weren't aware of him either, until Andre Davis told us this walk-on from Fort Walton Beach is destined to turn heads this spring. Whitehead could get lost in a numbers game at wideout, but we'll still take the word of the greatest receiver in school history.

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USF to open all spring practices

Transparency, and a trip to Lakeland, highlight USF's 2015 spring practice slate.

The school announced Thursday all spring workouts again will be open to the public, beginning with Monday's inaugural 9 a.m. workout. The Bulls are expected to hold all practices on campus except for a March 21 session at Lakeland's Bryant Stadium.

The Bulls will practice Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday next week, with weekday practices starting at 9 a.m. and Saturday workout at 2:30. Following a week off for spring break, the Bulls will follow the same schedule the weeks of March 9-14 and March 16-23.

Tuesday and Thursday practices will be held in Week Four, which ends with the March 28 spring game -- set to kick off at 4 p.m. -- at Corbett Stadium. Admission to the spring contest is free.

Fans attending spring practices are encouraged to park in the Sycamore lot on campus, which is adjacent to the Morsani Football Practice Complex.

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USF's 2015 football schedule finalized

Once again, exactly 25 percent of USF's regular season will be staged on a Friday night.

The school's 2015 schedule was formally completed Thursday with the American Athletic Conference's release of dates for all league games. Unlike recent seasons, the Bulls will observe only one bye weekend (Sept. 25-26) to accommodate the addition of the AAC Football Championship, to be staged Dec. 5 at the home site of one of the division winners.

USF's Friday slate includes home games against Memphis (Oct. 2) and Cincinnati (Nov. 20) and the regular season finale at UCF (Nov. 27). The contest against the Knights conflicts directly with the Bulls basketball team's game against Kentucky in downtown Miami. Bulls administrators lobbied extensively to change the day of the UCF game, to no avail.

Most starting times and TV assignments haven't been determined, and likely won't be until the fall.

2015 USF Football Schedule
Sept. 5 Florida A&M
Sept. 12 at FSU, 11:30 (ESPN)
Sept. 19 at Maryland
Oct. 2 Memphis (ESPN/ESPN2)
Oct. 10 Syracuse
Oct. 17 at UConn
Oct. 24 SMU
Oct. 31 at Navy, noon (CBS Sports Network)
Nov. 7 at East Carolina
Nov. 14 Temple
Nov. 20 Cincinnati
Nov. 27 at UCF

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Bulls slip past Houston to end skid

USF freshman Troy Holston Jr. had a career-best 18 points in the Bulls' 69-67 victory Tuesday against Houston.

OCTAVIO JONES | Times

USF freshman Troy Holston Jr. had a career-best 18 points in the Bulls' 69-67 victory Tuesday against Houston.

While one frigid snap commences on Fowler Avenue today, another has concluded.

Six weeks to the day after USF's 11-game skid began, the Bulls (8-19, 2-12 American Athletic Conference) offset Houston's 3-point onslaught with clutch free-throw shooting in the final 40 seconds to eke out a 69-67 victory Tuesday before 3,128 at the Sun Dome.

The Cougars (9-16, 1-12), sole occupants of the AAC basement, got their 30th and final 3-point try after Corey Allen Jr. missed the second of two free throws with 4.4 seconds to play.

LeRon Barnes rebounded and got the outlet pass to L.J. Rose (25 points), who took two dribbles and flung the ball to freshman walk-on Wes VanBeck on the right wing for an open 3-point look. It bounced off the back of the rim as time expired.

"I put the horns on him," joked Bulls coach Orlando Antigua, extending the index and pinky fingers -- USF's trademark symbol -- of his right hand. "We just needed a little bit of luck."

And some free throws down the stretch.

The Bulls, who missed their first five free throws, hit seven of eight in the last 37.5 seconds. Allen sank two critical ones with 11.7 seconds to go after Jherrod Stiggers' trey cut USF's lead to 66-64. A Rose 3-pointer three seconds later -- his fifth of the night -- made it a one-point game.

They were the only two treys Houston -- the league's top 3-point-shooting team (8.3 per game) -- converted in the second half after going 6-for-18 from long range in the first 30 minutes. The Cougars, who suited up nine players, missed their first nine treys before finding their collective touch, and managed 11 offensive rebounds to USF's one in the opening half. …

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USF fires women's tennis coach

Six matches into the spring season, veteran USF women's tennis coach Agustin Moreno has been dismissed, the school announced Monday afternoon.

Moreno, 47, was relieved of his duties by athletic director Mark Harlan "for not meeting the standards expected of a head coach," according to a three-sentence release issued by USF.

No further details were provided, and Moreno couldn't immediately be reached Monday. A records check for Pasco and Hillsborough counties -- Moreno resides in Wesley Chapel -- revealed no arrests.

Assistant Kelly Anderson has been appointed interim head coach.

Moreno, in his 10th season at USF, compiled a 129-79 record, leading the Bulls to the 2014 American Athletic Conference title, the '07 Big East crown and six NCAA Tournament appearances.

A Guadalajara, Mexico, native, Moreno graduated from TCU in 2002 and served as an assistant at his alma mater and Georgia before arriving at USF. He spent eight years (1987-94) on the ATP Tour, reaching the doubles semifinals of the French Open in 1988.

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Golf: Blistering spring debut for Bulls coach Bradley

A weekend of mixed results across USF's athletic landscape was sandwiched by two of the most stunning coaching debuts in school history.

Baseball coach Mark Kingston's premiere, a 2-1 upset of nationally-ranked Cal State Fullerton on Friday, was arguably trumped two days later in Gainesville. In his first full-squad spring event, men's golf coach Steven Bradley watched the Bulls shoot 3-under par Sunday to win the 72-hole SunTrust Gator Invitational by eight strokes.

Bulls freshman Claudio Correa, a Santiago, Chile, native who recorded a hole-in-one Saturday, shot a 5-under 205 for the weekend to earn individual medalist honors.

"Honestly, I think our goal was to win," said Bradley, who had the only squad in the 14-team field to finish under par.

"I know we have a pretty good squad, but it was a pretty good field with Vanderbilt and Florida State...so we knew that we had some good competition here, and I think we wanted to come out and make a statement and try to keep working hard. It was a great weekend for us."

Correa began the tournament with a career-best 5-under 65 Saturday morning, followed with a 70 that afternoon. He rallied with six birdies en route to a 3-under 67 Sunday, capped by a birdie on the par-4 18th, which features a second shot that plays uphill significantly.

Junior Chase Koepka, who shot a 67 in the second round, finished in a tie for fourth with a 2-under 208.

"(Correa) was pretty disappointed (Saturday) afternoon after his morning 65 and then not playing particularly well in the afternoon and was pretty down on himself," Bradley said. "For him to be a freshman and rebound the way he did and put it all together, I was extremely proud of him."

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Bulls' swoon continues with loss to Memphis

These days, one might be able to count the number of completely healthy USF basketball players on one hand.

Tabulating the Bulls' current losing streak requires a couple more appendages.

Stymied by a lack of depth and gluttony of turnovers, the Bulls (7-19, 1-12 American Athletic Conference) fell 75-48 to Memphis on Saturday before a Sun Dome crowd of 3,288. The 11-game skid is USF's longest since 2006, Robert McCullum's third season as Bulls coach.

The loss came in the wake of Wednesday night's 11-point loss at UCF, when power forward Chris Perry (medical issue) missed his seventh game in a row, top scorer Corey Allen Jr. injured his left ankle and point guard Anthony Collins tweaked his right shoulder.

Allen and Collins started Saturday, but teamed for seven points and seven of the Bulls' 18 turnovers. Six-foot-11 freshman Ruben Guerrero, whose parents were visiting from Marbella, Spain, led USF with a career-best 17 points.

Memphis scored 12 points off USF turnovers in the first half, including D'Marnier Cunningham's 3-pointer that gave the Tigers a 24-12 lead. It grew to 29-14 when 6-foot-8 forward Calvin Godfrey was fouled on a second-chance layup and sank the ensuing free throw.

The Bulls answered with a 14-2 run that bridged the first and second halves to trim their deficit to 31-28, but Avery Woodson answered with a 3-pointer from the top of the key.

USF would draw no closer than four points the remainder of the game as Memphis staged a 16-0 run down the stretch. The Tigers (15-10, 7-5) finished with 28 points off turnovers and got 35 bench points to the Bulls' six.

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Bulls shine in Mark Kingston's debut

For all intents, USF's 2015 home uniforms -- a burst of green hues reminiscent of the disco-era Houston Astros tops -- were the only throwbacks spotted Friday night at Clearwater's Bright House Field.

Nearly everything else about this version of the Bulls -- from the guy in charge to the run support to the triumph against a ranked foe -- were fresh and invigorating sights for a beleaguered fan base.

Luke Borders hit a two-run single in the bottom of the sixth, and a trio of Bulls right-handers teamed for a two-hitter, in USF's 2-1 win against Cal State Fullerton in the debut of Coach Mark Kingston.

The Titans entered Friday's game, part of the USF Opening Weekend Challenge, ranked 19th by USA Today and 23rd by Baseball America. Borders' single, the last of three consecutive Bulls hits, came off two-time All-America right-hander Thomas Eshelman.

"I was pleased with everything," said Kingston, who tries for another quality win Saturday evening against '14 College World Series entrant Louisville. "To come out here on opening day and go toe-to-toe with them and then come out with a win at the end, very proud of what our guys did tonight."

The anticipated pitchers' duel between Eshelman and Bulls right-hander Jimmy Herget prevailed, with the pair combining for 19 strikeouts through the first 5.1 innings. Herget, selected the American Athletic Conference preseason pitcher of the year by league coaches, struck out the side in his first inning of '15.

"He's as advertised," Kingston said. "Everything I heard about Jimmy Herget I saw tonight."

Eshelman, meantime, fanned the first five Bulls he faced, and got a smidgen of offensive support when Fullerton manufactured a run in the third off a walk, batter and single.

"That guy's an All-American for a reason," Kingston said. "Early in the game obviously we were taking more pitches just to make sure first game out, he would have the type of command that he usually does.

"Right out of the gate, he was sharp, he was working both sides of the plate, had great command. So we said, 'This is not a guy we're gonna try to get the pitch count up on, this is a guy that we need to start being aggressive (against).'"

The approach paid off in the sixth. Freshman Kevin Merrell, a former Steinbrenner High star making his college debut, reached on a one-out infield single before moving to third on Levi Borders' double. Luke Borders, Levi's younger sibling, scored both with his single to left.

Freshman Joe Cavallaro (two IP, two strikeouts) and redshirt freshman Tommy Peterson (two IP, one hit, four strikeouts) neutralized the Titans from there.

"It's tremendous," said Herget, who fanned nine, walked four and allowed one hit in five innings.

"That guy on the other side (Eshelman) is unbelievable, and for us to come out here and beat him, it's just gonna propel us for the rest of the year."

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Former Arizona coach Dick Tomey hired at USF

Former Arizona football coach Dick Tomey, a longtime mentor of current USF athletic director Mark Harlan, is joining the Bulls program as an associate athletic director for sports administration.

A 76-year-old grandfather of eight, Tomey most recently had been special teams coach at Hawaii. When he begins on Feb. 20, he'll have administrative oversight of USF's football program, according to a school news release.

“Dick has a tireless passion for intercollegiate athletics and I am confident that his expertise will not only assist our football program, but our entire department," said Harlan, who grew up with Tomey's son in a southern California neighborhood and later worked for Tomey at UA.

"Dick will partner with me, Coach (Willie) Taggart, our football staff and all of our administrators to help us move forward."

Tomey won 183 college games in head coaching stints at Hawaii, Arizona and San Jose State. His "Desert Swarm" defenses at UA gained national prominence, as did the Wildcats program, which he led to a pair of 10-win seasons during his 14-year tenure including a 12-1 campaign in 1998.

He later spent five seasons (2005-09) at San Jose State -- where Harlan served as an athletic administrator -- and helped the program snap a 16-year bowl drought by his second year, when it finished 9-4.

"In the last six months, I have had the opportunity to build a healthy respect for Coach Taggart and I will enjoy building on that relationship," Tomey said in the USF release.

"I will spend my time in the beginning meeting, developing relationships and listening to all those that interact with football and assisting Mark and Coach Taggart’s efforts in all ways possible."

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