Bulls spring game: A few things to watch
Our observations of USF's spring workouts to this point have arrived in bits and chunks. While some practices have been open to reporters for the last half-hour or so, others have been open to anyone from start to finish. As a result, we've been able to see, hear and sense enough to offer some guidance on what to look for at Saturday's annual spring intrasquad game. Here goes:
Five things to watch
The o-line. Perhaps the most compelling testament to this unit's evolution is the fact that, at the Bulls' spring-game draft last weekend, four of the top five picks were offensive linemen. Based on the eye test, these guys are clearly brawnier. There's a reason QB Mike White has completed 70 percent of his passes this spring (according to Coach Willie Taggart).
Change of pace. Don't be stunned if the Bulls aren't whistled for even one delay-of-game penalty Saturday. Taggart and new offensive coordinator Paul Wulff have made tempo a priority this spring, and the offense has routinely snapped the ball with double digits remaining on the play clock.
Gadgetry. If the previous public scrimmages have revealed anything, the Bulls have mixed in some razzle and dazzle with the sweeps and screens. With potentially a few thousand watching in the cozy setting of Corbett Stadium, the Bulls likely will want to entertain.
A front three? To maximize his athletes and atone for less girth up front than last season, defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan has tinkered with a 3-4 look this spring. "We've got
some (3-4) principles in and we're going to use them to our advantage and let the athletes
run around a little bit," he said, "because we are a little bit smaller but more athletic."
Red zone efficiency. For an offense that struggled mightily in the red zone -- or any zone, for that matter -- last fall, displaying more poise and precision inside the 20 is essential.
Five players to watch
QB Steven Bench. Though Bench has logged some first-team work, most of his reps have come
with the second unit, which hasn't always provided the sturdiest protection. A split-squad setting should offer a fairer assessment of Bench's progress. Andre Davis, Deonte Welch and Chris Dunkley are on his team.
DE Demetrius Hill. Of the six early enrollees, Hill and former Pasco High star Jamie Byrd have clearly distinguished themselves and have earned extensive first-team work. Physically, Hill, who plays the defensive spot most gutted by graduation and early exits, looks the part of an NFL player now (6-foot-3, 270 pounds).
TE Sean Price. Though a bit overweight last fall, Price came on toward the end of the season and has shined most of the spring. Don't be surprised if he emerges as White's top target Saturday, and a few Saturdays beyond.
MLB Auggie Sanchez. Practically since Day One, coaches have been high on this Northeast High alum, who has converted from fullback and now seems the heir apparent to DeDe Lattimore.
Check out this story on the praise he's getting.
FB Kennard Swanson. An unheralded redshirt freshman entering spring drills, Swanson has drawn
raves recently, and scored a touchdown in last weekend's scrimmage. "You talk about big-time
improvement, this kid is really coming along," Taggart said.
Five unlikely to play
CB Devin Abraham (shoulder)
LB Reshard Cliett (shoulder)
QB Tommy Eveld (knee)
FS Nate Godwin (ankle sprain)
S Torrel Saffold (knee)