Holtz ready to shake up Bulls' depth chart
Working to end a four-game losing streak that has put his future in question, USF coach Skip Holtz said Thursday that he's opened up his depth chart, re-evaluating who should be on the field for the Bulls based on performance in three practices this week.
"We've graded every play and we've moved the depth chart accordingly," Holtz said. "We're not going to reward talent. We're not going to reward experience. We're going to reward productivity and effort and guys that have been grading well. The depth chart has bounced around an awful lot today to see what it would look like."
The Bulls (2-4, 0-2 in Big East) have this weekend off before returning to play next weekend at No. 18 Louisville, and Holtz has used the extra week to evaluate younger players, such as redshirt freshman linebacker Zack Bullock, who has one tackle in six games, playing primarily on special teams, and true freshman Tashon Whitehurst, who has seen limited action but had a key punt block against Florida State.
"Zack Bullock is making a charge and really doing some good things," Holtz said. "Tashon Whitehurst is a young guy that is really making a push. (Seniors) Michael Lanaris and Sam Barrington have been out (with minor injuries) a little bit, and that's given some of these younger guys an opportunity."
Another player getting a look is redshirt freshman Chris "C.J." Garye, a safety who has been moved to weakside linebacker and could see action, even though hadn't played a down in the first six games, according to Holtz.
"I think all those young guys bring something to the table. They're bringing a new energy and excitement and enthusiasm to the field right now that's fun to watch," Holtz said.
USF's defense has given up 30-plus points in four games this season and is the only unit in the country without an interception, with only three fumbles recovered as a defense. Holtz said his staff approached this week as they would in preseason, giving reps to all players with the hopes that a fresh evaluation might translate to better production on the field next week.
"We've often said the depth chart is formulated on the field, not in the coaches' offices," Holtz said. "We're going to let them dictate who's going to play and who's not, by their productivity and their effort. Some things are going to change, because from what I've seen in the last three days, there are some guys that deserve the right to play, guys that are hungry, that really want to be on that field. They've shown that in the last three days."