Bulls open practice excited by talent at running back

3

March

TAMPA -- As USF opened spring football on the team's new practice fields, much of the attention was on a pair of running backs who sat out last season as transfers but should make an impact with the Bulls this fall.

"I'm not worried about my goals. I'm worried about team goals. We need to go out and win," said Darrell Scott, once touted as the nation's top high school running back before two seasons limited by injuries at Colorado. "I can't wait. South Bend. We've got like 186 days to count down."

USF's opener at Notre Dame was exactly six months away, and Scott -- 6-foot-1 and 225 pounds, down from 239 last fall -- is eager to show the same form that saw him rush for 5,627 yards and 78 touchdown in his final two years of high school. After a year away from football, Scott is looking forward to getting back on the field this fall.

"I wasn't used to it. Practicing five days a week and then having to sit and watch everybody play, it was frustrating, but it motivated me," Scott said. "I'm ready."

Offensive coordinator Todd Fitch said he was impressed by Scott last year just by the way he handled himself as a high-profile player relegated to a season on the scout team while sitting out.

"He's awfully talented," Fitch said. "What impressed me the most about him in the fall was 'Was he going to come in and work hard or just cruise through it?' Highly recruited kid. We know the story. Did a great job on the scout team. Coaches raved about him. He's reshaped his body, lost 12-14 pounds. He's excited about the challenge."

Another transfer, former Chamberlain standout Dontae Aycock, is in the same position after coming to USF from Auburn. He and Scott will compete with returning backs Demetris Murray and Marcus Shaw in a deep, talented backfield, but Fitch also likes the possibility of Aycock, a high school quarterback, lining up in the wildcat formation, something USF didn't utilize last season.

"I'm excited about the position because we have four guys that are going to compete their butts off," Fitch said. "The best weapon you have as a coach is competition."

THIS AND THAT: Safety Jerrell Young (stress fracture in leg) and tight end Andreas Shields (back) will be limited by injuries this spring. ... Skip Holtz has about 60 prospective new walk-ons working out on the first two days of practice, though he'll cut that number to between 15 and 18 by the weekend. Only a handful will likely make the fall roster. ... With national attention on college football and criminal records following a Sports Illustrated cover story this week, Holtz said USF has conducted criminal background checks on incoming recruits, something Holtz said he's done in the past before coming to USF.

[Last modified: Thursday, March 3, 2011 9:26pm]

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