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Breaking camp: 5 observations from USF preseason

Brett Kean was the No. 2 guy following his breakthrough spring, and doesn't appear to have relinquished that spot.

OCTAVIO JONES | Times

Brett Kean was the No. 2 guy following his breakthrough spring, and doesn't appear to have relinquished that spot.

22

August

The Bulls' 15-day preseason camp, arguably the most physically demanding of the Willie Taggart era, concluded Saturday night with an extensive closed scrimmage. Because only three practices were open to the public, we can't deliver a nuanced assessment of every position, but we have gleaned enough to offer what we deem some key observations. Here they are, based on post-practice interviews, the sliver of daily practice time to which we were privy, and the basic vibes we sensed.

1. Khalid McGee's the man at striker.
The backup to Jamie Byrd last season, McGee initially seemed destined to stay at No. 2 when senior Nate Godwin was moved from safety to this de facto nickel-back spot. But Godwin's nagging hamstring ailment has lingered, and McGee has maximized his opportunity -- earning a coveted gray shirt in the process. Following Thursday night's practice, Willie Taggart all but proclaimed McGee the starter.

2. Brett Kean's the backup QB
A little disclaimer here: After Saturday's situational scrimmage, Taggart was asked if Kean had solidified the backup role, but said he preferred to review the film first. That said, Kean was the No. 2 guy following his breakthrough spring, and doesn't appear to have relinquished that spot. USF athletic department staff writer Tom Zebold, who observed all of Saturday's scrimmage, said Kean got the majority of snaps behind Flowers on Saturday. If/when the Bulls build a comfortable lead on Towson in two weeks, we'd be shocked if Kean isn't the second QB to play.

3. Camp casualties minimal
The Bulls might have set a preseason record for fewest walking boots required. Aside from WR A.J. Legree's torn ACL and Godwin's hammy, USF appears to have made it through camp unscathed.

4. Two bay area Bulls on defensive front
Next to McGee, no defensive youngster has drawn more unsolicited praise this preseason than redshirt freshman DE Kirk Livingstone, who appears a lock to start. We project him lining up with DT Kevin Bronson, NT Bruce Hector (Robinson High) and 'Bull' DE Vincent Jackson (Jesuit).  
 
5. From heralded to humbled?
Perhaps the most glowing testament to the Bulls' depth -- and Taggart's recruiting -- is the fact only one of last year's four heralded Division I transfers is expected to start against Towson. We see WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling (N.C. State) on the field at the opening snap, but not FS Austin Hudson (Wisconsin), MLB Cecil Cherry (Texas) or QB Asiantii Woulard (UCLA). While Taggart recently indicated Hudson has had a solid camp, he's mired in a numbers game with Tajee Fullwood and Devin Abraham. And while Cherry's physicality has drawn raves, he hasn't unseated team captain Auggie Sanchez. Woulard, meantime, seems the No. 3 QB at this point.

Projected starting lineup
Offense
TE Kano Dillon, So.
LT Kofi Amichia, Sr.
LG Jeremi Hall, R-Jr.
C  Cameron Ruff, R-Jr.
RG Dominique Threatt, Sr.
RT Billy Atterbury, R-Fr.
QB Quinton Flowers, Jr.
RB Marlon Mack, Jr.
X Marquez Valdes-Scantling, R-Jr.
Z Ryeshene Bronson, Jr.
Slot Rodney Adams, Sr.

Defense
DE Kirk Livingstone, R-Fr.
DT Kevin Bronson, So.
NT Bruce Hector, R-So.
DE Vincent Jackson, R-So.
WLB Nigel Harris, Sr.
MLB Auggie Sanchez, R-Jr.
CB Deatrick Nichols, Jr.
CB Ronnie Hoggins, So.
Striker Khalid McGee, So.
SS Jaymon Thomas, So.
FS Tajee Fullwood, Jr.

Special Teams
P Brent Gordon, So.
PK Emilio Nadelman, R-Jr.
LS Alex Salvato, Sr.
H Alex Mut, Sr.
KR Rodney Adams, Sr.
   D'Ernest Johnson, Jr.
PF Tajee Fullwood, Jr.

[Last modified: Monday, August 22, 2016 12:32pm]

    

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