Bye-week bits: Bryant commits, Ruff coming on
An extended report from Wednesday's USF football practice, our final access to the Bulls before Louisville week kicks off Monday:
TAMPA -- With his most mobile quarterback (Steven Bench) still day-to-day with a knee injury, offensive coordinator/line coach Walt Wells is spending the bye week addressing USF's inconsistent pass protection.
The Bulls are tied for 97th nationally in sacks allowed (2.67 per game) and tied for 77th in tackles for loss allowed (6.17). While part of that can be attributed to the limited mobility of pocket passer Bobby Eveld, sacked twice at Connecticut, Wells said his front men must incur some of the fault.
"I'd really like to sew up our protection inside," said Wells, also seeking better push in a run game averaging 120.3 yards. "I think our guards have got to do a better job of protecting. I think they've gotten better, but we can't lose one-on-one battles."
Sophomore Brynjar Gudmundsson and true freshman Dominique Threatt have started the last three games at the guard spots, but fifth-year senior Steven Jacques was in on both of the Bulls' longest drives at UConn, including the game-winning fourth-quarter drive.
Wells also said true freshman Cameron Ruff -- a former Jesuit High star who hasn't played this season -- is making strides as a backup guard/center.
"Cameron's going to be a good football player, whether or not it's this year or the next four years, we'll find out as we move forward," Wells said. "He had a really good day (Tuesday)."
CARRIES BY COMMITTEE: Coach Willie Taggart said Wednesday he has no problem continuing to use a veritable stable of tailbacks should leading rusher Marcus Shaw (right leg) remain sidelined. Shaw's status for the Oct. 26 game against Louisville remains unclear.
His backups -- Willie Davis, Darius Tice and Michael Pierre -- combined for 127 yards in the Bulls' 13-10 win at UConn.
"Those guys are on scholarship too, and they can produce and they did a good job for us," Taggart said.
CLASS OF '15 COMMIT: The Bulls picked up what is believed to be their first commitment for their 2015 recruiting class when Fort Myers Dunbar junior RB Marquise Bryant gave his oral pledge to the Bulls earlier this week.
A speedster who could line up at a variety of spots in college, Bryant (5-foot-10, 160 pounds) is the second member of Dunbar's current team to commit to USF, joining senior WR Ryeshene Bronson.
AUDIBLE: "He's playing more physical, he's playing more disciplined. I know he had the offsides (penalty) and we've got to eliminate that...but the things he's doing right now technically are so much better than when he got here. He just needs to continue to stay detailed in his work." -- defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan on DE Aaron Lynch, who enjoyed his best game as a Bull (three tackles, sack, fumble recovery, two QB hurries) at UConn