Bulls coaches still want offensive line stronger
We sat down with USF offensive coordinator Walt Wells last week to talk about the offensive line, a key position as the Bulls implement a new West Coast offense that will be predicated on a strong, traditional running game.
USF has seven players who have started games for the Bulls, but that adds up to just 48 career starts -- Quinterrius Eatmon (23), Austin Reiter (12), Thor Jozwiak (5), Darrell Williiams (5), Brynjar Gudmundsson (1), Max Lang (1), Lawrence Martin (1). That total ranks 90th nationally according to Phil Steele, who puts a lot of weight in a team's career starts on the offensive line. The rest of the American: Houston 92, Rutgers 91, Cincinnati 83, UConn 77, UCF 68, Louisville 64, Temple 58, Memphis 54, SMU 29; by that, USF's second-to-last in that category.
-- Both Willie Taggart and Wells have been impressively candid in addressing the strength level of the offensive line. "They've got to get stronger, and I hope they've had a good summer," Wells said. "They were extremely weak coming in, for what we do. Extremely weak. They've approached it really hard from what we saw in the weight room in spring and winter. Hopefully they'll continue to do that, and if they can get that going where we need to go, I think we have good quality depth there."
-- As can be expected, Reiter (center) and Eatmon (right tackle) are the closest to entering camp as a starter. "Those two guys are two that have stepped up in front a little bit," Wells said. "Brynjar Gudmundsson is somebody who hasn't played a lot in the past, but his body type, his strength, his work ethic, his blue-collar mentality is something we're looking for. If he has a good summer, comes into camp and stays healthy, he'll have a chance to do good things."
Jozwiak will have a good shot at the other guard spot opposite Gudmundsson, and he'd be the one to step in at center if anything happened to Reiter, even though redshirt freshman Kofi Amichia goes into camp as the backup on the depth chart. Martin, Lang and senior Steve Jacques would be the top competition for the starting guard spots.
-- Presuming everyone stays healthy, USF will open camp with a starting line (l-r) of Williams, Jozwiak, Reiter, Gudmundsson and Eatmon. "Jake Kaufman had a really good spring, so Jake's in there battling with him (at left tackle)," said Wells, with walk-on Mak Djulbegovic pushing Eatmon at right tackle after a strong spring.
-- The line was dinged up much of the spring with various injuries, but Wells said only two injuries persist -- Martin (knee) and Kam Davis (shoulder). Davis likely won't practice in camp and they'll ease Martin back in during camp. Davis, just a redshirt freshman, wasn't on the two-deep if healthy, but Martin, a senior, would be competing for a starting guard spot if healthy.
-- Even with veterans filling in the two-deep, Wells said his three true freshmen -- Dominique Threatt, Jeremi Hall and Cameron Ruff -- will get reps early in camp, especially if they're picking up the scheme quickly. "It comes down to how quick they learn, and how they adjust to the speed," Wells said, adding that "Jeremi Hall has a lot of ability. We've got to make sure his weight stays under control." Hall is listed at 340 on the fall roster, joining DT Derrick Calloway (328) as the only Bulls over 320.