First USF spring scrimmage: Quick observations
Friday morning brought USF's first scrimmage of the spring, with about 140 plays in all sorts of situations -- 1 offense vs 2 defense, vice versa, even a little 1s vs. 1s. It's hard to read these scrimmages -- quarterbacks wore red non-contact jerseys, and Skip Holtz follows a script, so if it called for an eight-play series, he'll stop a drive at the 20-yard line, or keep giving a unit first downs after three-and-out series.
We very much appreciate the scrimmage being completely open to the media, with a slew of local recruits in attendance as well, along with Lou Holtz watching his son's team from the end zone. Lots of notes to share ...
-- Everyone always asks about the quarterbacks, so we'll start there. Thought B.J. Daniels looked sharp, especially on third down. He converted a third-and-13 and third-and-4 on the opening series, then hit Sterling Griffin on another third down on his second drive, which ended inside the 20-yard line. Daniels hit 7 of his first 9 passes and added a score late, hitting Andre Davis for a 52-yard touchdown. I had him 11-for-17 for 162, with a few drops -- he had Griffin open on a deep ball that hit the receiver in the hands and dropped incomplete.
Bobby Eveld had the disadvantage of going against the No. 1 defense early -- he was intercepted across the middle by JaQuez Jenkins on his first throw, and Jenkins nearly picked off his next pass, jumping the route as he did for a pick-six against West Virginia. Matt Floyd looked sharper early, hitting walk-on tight end Jake Carlton for 12 yards and freshman Alex Mut for 18 and a third-down conversion, but he did so against the No. 3 defense, so it's hard to compare. Eveld also was picked off by walk-on Zach Fisher, but added a touchdown on a blown-coverage deep ball on a 38-yard touchdown to Chris Dunkley, again against the No. 3 defense. Holtz took more from Dunkley running the wrong route on a third-down play than his uncontested scoring grab.
-- Impressed by the defense's toughness against the run. Here's the yardage for the first 13 running back carries: minus-2, 3, 1, 0, 0, minus-2, 0, 2, 0, 2, 1, 3, 2. That's a total of 10 yards -- by a variety of backs against all three defenses. You saw better running in the second half -- Lindsey Lamar broke loose for a 29-yard run, adding an 8-yarder and 13-yarder, again against the No. 3 defense.
-- Offensive line? First unit, left to right, was Mark Popek, Damien Edwards, Austin Reiter, Lawrence Martin, Quinterrius Eatmon. Second line had Darrell Williams, Brynjar Gudmundsson, Thor Jozwiak, Steve Jacques and Max Lang (with some changes during game) and third unit had Jake Kaufman, Chandlor Mathews, John McGhin (now working at center), Jake Smith and David Burdetsky. Danous Estenor remains out.
-- The offense fared well in goal-line drills after the scrimmage, consistently punching the ball in, with touchdowns by Shaw, Davis, Murray (on a pass) and Bradley Battles. Montgomery had a nice breakup in the end zone, and George Baker nearly had a pick, but couldn't tap a toe in the back of the end zone.
-- Individual plays I noted: Corner Fidel Montgomery had a breakup on Daniels' first pass. ... Victor Marc and Marcus Shaw had drops on Bobby Eveld screens on their first drive. ... Kaufman, playing his first football in a long time after back problems, drew a handful of flags. ... Mark Joyce had an interception on a deflected Matt Floyd pass. ... Redshirt freshman Willie Davis showed some good patience -- probably didn't have more than 20 yards, but had 2-3 solid runs. ... Hard to gauge with no live QBs, but Julius Forte had a few tag-whistle sacks. ... Justin Brockhaus-Kann had the first punt in special-teams work, but the holder on the first Maikon Bonani field goal was walk-on Mattias Ciabatti. ... First play in 1s vs. 1s was a nice 13-yard screen from Daniels to Griffin. ...