First practice notes: LB Pozniak now working at end
The first half-hour of the first practice of fall is one big blur -- the media can only see the first half-hour of practice, so it's a rush to take down as much information as possible before the window is closed for the day. Add in the number of new players, and the game of what's-out-of-place-here is dizzying.
With that in mind, some quick observations -- we'll get Skip Holtz's comments around 5:30 to add some context to all of this ...
-- The only major position tweak I saw was true freshman Antoine Pozniak, who joined the Bulls in January and had worked as a linebacker throughout spring drills. The whole time we were there, Pozniak was lined up with the defensive ends -- he went through drills with the third-time line, with Ryne Giddins (wearing new No. 97) and Patrick Hampton on the first line and Julius Forte and Anthony Hill on the second. Pozniak, who would have had trouble getting on the field at linebacker, is small for an end at 6-foot-2, 220 pounds, but it's reasonable to think by the Pittsburgh game he could have added 10 pounds to his frame.
-- When the Bulls lined up to run through offensive plays, they used an offensive line that had guard Chaz Hine working at center and junior Danous Estenor taking his spot at guard. USF's coaches have talked about this possibility, rather than keeping Hine at guard and having a first-year starter at center in Kevin McCaskill. Here's how the lines were, prefacing this by saying that it's just a snapshot from one practice and not an ironclad indication of how the depth chart looks: L-R, Popek, Warren, Hine, Estenor, Eatmon; second line Powe, McGhin, McCaskill, Jacques, Edwards. (I also saw Tony Kibler as a second-line guard at one point.) The question is which of the true freshmen can crack that second line first.
-- We mentioned the two RB transfers showing up much heavier on the fall roster -- Darrell Scott didn't look out of shape at all, even if he's listed at 246 pounds. Dontae Aycock looked less impressive, as he's listed at 253 pounds. The first three running backs through drills were Demetris Murray, Scott and Marcus Shaw, who's now wearing No. 20.
-- At linebacker, USF went through conditioning drills with Sam Barrington lined up as a strongside linebacker and Mike Lanaris in the middle (DeDe Lattimore at weakside). What was interesting for me was the second line -- strong to weakside, was Curtis Weatherspoon, Hans Louis and Mike Jeune. That meant Reshard Cliett was the third-line strongside linebacker, with walk-ons filling out the third line. Clearly they're not letting true freshman crack the two deep until they've earned it.
-- Along the same lines, cornerback Kenneth Durden and safety C.J. Garye were on the third-line secondary, with Ernie Tabuteau and George Baker as the second-team corners. Spencer Boyd was the other third-line corner, with Tyson Butler as the other third-line safety.
-- Walk-on tight end Jake Carlton was working as the second-string long-snapper behind senior starter Mike Walsh.