Freshman center Reiter impressing with progress
Going back over interviews, and when I sat down with USF offensive line coach Steve Shankweiler last month for our Danous Estenor story, I also got a few nuggets about the line going into preseason drills. This is a month old, but thought it offered some insights into the line ...
-- On redshirt freshman Austin Reiter, who joined the Bulls in January 2010 and will see his first game action this fall: "I'm really pleased with the progress Austin Reiter has made. He has to get heavier, but Austin has a chance to be a really, really good center. I mean really good. His improvement in the spring was dramatic. He has a lot of natural talent. If he can just get big enough, that's the question. He's probably 270. He needs to be 285.
"Golly Pete, his hip and leg strength and ability to stay on his feet, I'm not going to say he's better than the guy that just left (Sampson Genus) because the guy that just left was pretty good, but he's got some things he does awfully well. We can say 'This kid is going to be pretty good. It's going to be hard for someone to come in and beat him out in time."
-- There's a battle for the fifth starting spot, essentially between center Kevin McCaskill and Estenor at guard. Are Bulls better with Estenor at guard and senior Chaz Hine at center, or with McCaskill at center and Hine in third year as starting guard?
-- On Mark Popek as a starting left tackle: "(Popek) in the spring improved dramatically. He's still got a ways to go. His confidence level is significantly different than it was this time a year ago."
-- On Quinterrius Eatmon, starting right tackle: "(Eatmon) has got a lot of ability, is a very good worker, a very easy guy to coach in terms of learning. He has come light years, and he'll have to play as a redshirt freshman. There just was no depth when we got here, as we all know. We're going to have to play him. He's going to start."
-- Two or three freshmen will go into season with the same mentality that Eatmon had last season -- trained to be ready to play in every game, but won't play unless they're needed on the field. "We have such a lack of depth, we're going to take two for sure, who they are I don't know yet, but we're going to put them in that second unit. We're going to say 'You're playing.' You may not play, but you better be ready, preparation-wise."
-- Where the incoming freshmen will get their first look: "(Thor Jozwiak), David Simon and probably Brynjar Gudmundsson will all learn to play guard and center. (Darrell Williams and Max Lang) will work at tackle."
-- On his impression on the group as a whole: "They're a great bunch of kids. Not that they weren't before. Several of them have grown up, whereas last year, I tell them all the time, it was like Kindercare. C'mon guys. They've grown up. They're working better, working hard. They've bought into what we're trying to do, bought into what (strength coach) Mike Golden is doing. They're seeing progress, and when kids see progress, they get excited."