Bulls may use three-man lines in spring game
With four starters lost to graduation and other key players out, offensive line will be a thin position for the Bulls this spring -- USF had just 10 linemen working out as they returned to drills Monday after an 11-day absence for the school's spring break.
With so few healthy bodies on the line, USF coach Jim Leavitt said he isn't sure if he'll use two traditional five-man lines when the Bulls have their spring game on April 11.
"A number of years ago, we had to play tight ends at tackle," Leavitt said. "We do (that) in some of our formations anyway (with unbalanced lines), so we could do that. I remember a few years ago at Florida, they played three o-linemen, three on three (in a spring game). It happens. A lot of times, that's why people don't have a spring game. It's really because of o-line, more than any other position. It's so hard to find big guys who can move, do all the right things. For us, we're really down on numbers at o-line, but that's going to be a big question mark, everyone knows that, with our offense."
-- Great news for easily confused Big East P.A. announcers, baffled by the double-numbering at USF: Receiver A.J. Love has shifted from No. 5 to No. 11 (that's a Larry Fitzgerald nod), and said he was just ready to move out and get a number of his own. "I just didn't really want to share with Nate anymore, to be honest," said Love, referring to starting safety Nate Allen, who also wears No. 5.
Love said he is making good progress recovering from the torn ACL he suffered in the St. Petersburg Bowl, now more than three months ago, and said he expects to be ready to return healthy when preseason drills start in August. "I'm feeling good. I'm coming back quick, getting stronger every day," Love said. "I'll be ready for fall, right around two-a-days." For now, he's taking mental reps, making sure he understands all the changes that come with a new offensive coordinator in Mike Canales and a new receivers coach in Phil McGeoghan.
-- The previous owner of No. 11, receiver Marcus Edwards, is helping out at practice, working in particular with the punt returners. On Monday, those included Patrick Richardson, Jessie Hester, Colby Erskin and Theo Wilson. Lots of different faces lined up deep for kickoffs -- Jerome Murphy, Dontavia Bogan, Quenton Washington, Tyson Butler, Daniel Bryant, Carlton Mitchell and Jerrell Young.
-- Speaking of special teams, another position where USF will have a new starter is at long-snapper, where Eric Setser and backup Darryl Dudding both graduated. Rising sophomore walk-on Mike Walsh is the only snapper on roster this spring, and the job this fall is his to lose. Coach Jim Leavitt said he has a freshman expected to come in as a preferred walk-on, but in a pinch, tight end Ben Busbee could also snap if needed.
-- First-team defense as it took the field for practice on Monday: George Selvie and Craig Marshall at defensive end, Terrell McClain and Aaron Harris at tackle, Kion Wilson, Sabbath Joseph and Chris Robinson at linebacker, Murphy and Washington at corner and Allen and Jerrell Young at safety. Looked like redshirt freshman linebacker Armando Sanchez was working with the second unit (with Alonzo McQueen and Donte Spires) with redshirt freshmen George Baker and Jon Lejiste there as well. Another redshirt freshman, linebacker Mike Lanaris, was working as a blocking back on the punt unit.