Bulls' first week of practice all about learning
TAMPA -- With no pads yet and much to learn, much of the first four practices on campus for USF football will be focused on installing major parts of new schemes for this fall, with the heavy contact to follow next week in Vero Beach.
"I was really pleased with the way the upperclassmen retained everything," coach Skip Holtz said after Thursday's opening practice of the fall. "Timing-wise, we're not throwing and catching the ball as well as you need to, and in shorts, that's primarily what you're doing, throwing and catching. A lot of younger guys are drinking through a fire hose. We're giving them much more than they can absorb. They can't take it all in. ... Really pleased with the retention and the attitude and the morale seems real high, but it's Day 1."
Offensive coordinator Todd Fitch got his first look at two 6-foot-4 freshman quarterbacks -- Georgia's Jamius Gunsby, who will wear Matt Grothe's No. 8 this fall, and walk-on Bobby Eveld from Jesuit -- and left initially impressed by both.
"With Jamius, you see raw talent. He doesn't know what he's doing, and yet you see him step and throw and get the ball out there. Miss a read totally, but make a completion," he said. "Bobby was in a compatible offense to what we run as background, saw things better overall, had a better feel, got the ball a little bit better on time. One's probably a little bit rawer, maybe a little more talented overall, the other a little farther ahead just seeing the whole picture."
Eveld was enough of an athlete to be drafted by the Mets as a catcher, but chose to stay in his hometown for college football.
"He's a catcher, and there's a correlation there, with arm strength and athletic ability," Fitch said. "They're both good kids. They both have a ton to learn. They're going to get lost a thousand times, but if they can just stay with it and get better, they'll be fine."
With a lack of depth at receiver, the Bulls have moved former quarterback and tight end Isaac Virgin -- a big target at 6-foot-4, 249 pounds -- to receiver.
"(Tight end) is his natural position down the road, but ... we want to put bodies in the right spot," Fitch said. "We have (ECU transfer Kevin) Gidrey in the fold for this year, so how can we help (Virgin) get on the field to help us the fastest? We thought that was the best way."
THIS AND THAT: Three freshman offensive linemen came in even bigger than expected -- Tony Kibler and Jake Kaufman are listed at 355 and 362 pounds, both 40 pounds higher than on signing day, and Quinterrious Eatmon is listed at 340, 20 pounds above his signing-day weight. ... Freshman cornerback Terrence Mitchell of Hillsborough, trying to crack the two-deep in the secondary, got a look early on kickoff returns. ... The only newcomer missing Thursday was transfer running back Dontae Aycock, but Holtz said he expects him to join the team Friday.