Familiarity leads to confidence for Holtz in Year 2
TAMPA -- Skip Holtz's second season officially started Thursday with the Bulls' first practice, and the difference in terms of players and coaches being on the same page is nothing like what USF faced a year ago.
"It's exciting to be out here -- there are a lot of positive things out there," Holtz said after the first fall drills at USF's new practice fields. "There's just so much more confidence, (everyone) comfortable, knowing the offense, defense, special teams, guys knowing what we're doing."
The Bulls will practice three days in Tampa before heading to Vero Beach on Saturday for 12 days of bonding in close quarters. Holtz was happy to be able to see his freshman class on the football field for the first time after months of wondering how far they'd come since signing with USF.
"To see how they move in person -- a lot of these guys you watched on film, met them as people, but this is the first time we've been on the field with a lot of them," Holtz said. "I think they're worn out and tired right now, but it was a really productive first day."
BIG BACK: Holtz has been pleased with the progress of running back Darrell Scott, who sat out last season after transferring from Colorado. And even with Scott weighing 243 pounds, Holtz said the sturdy runner carries the weight in a good way.
"The way he's carrying his weight right now, the first thing I told him watching his weight is like watching gas prices, the way it's going up," Holtz said. "But you watch him come out here and run, and he's not missing a beat, not putting his hands over his head, not sucking wind, bent over, taking himself out. I think he's in great shape. He's just a very large, muscular young man that has really responded when you put weight on his shoulders and then send him over to that dining hall."
THIS AND THAT: Holtz said he liked how freshman cornerback Kenneth Durden looked fielding punts. "(Durden) really caught my eye today, watching him move around. He's very fluid," he said. USF's freshman will go in the afternoon today after finishing summer classes, while veterans will practice in the morning. ... USF announced kickoff times for three home games -- Ball State on Sept. 10 and Florida A&M on Sept. 17 will have 7 p.m. kickoffs and broadcasts on Bright House Sports Network, while the Cincinnati game on Oct. 22 will have a noon kick. ... Freshman linebacker Antoine Pozniak has moved to defensive end, where he worked with the third-team defense Thursday. He's only 220 pounds but could give the Bulls some versatility at the position.