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My chat overfloweth: Answering your USF questions

12

April

Thanks much to everyone who submitted questions for today's live chat -- had to cut things off a little sooner than most chats after 75 minutes, and still had a ton of questions left unanswered. So here are a few, and again, sorry we couldn't answer those in the regular chat -- you can read the archived version here.
 
Guest asked: "How is Holtz doing with the local top Tampa Bay recruits? Any way we can get a father son feature on Vernon Hargreaves Sr and Junior?"
-- Holtz doesn't have any commitments yet from Hillsborough or Pinellas recruits, but the Bulls are in the mix for the area's best playes. Hargreaves is certainly one, as are Armwood's Alvin Bailey and Leon McQuay III, Hillsborough's Jordan Sherit and others. With a full class of 25 expected and so many local offers out, I think the 2013 class should have much more of a local flavor, after seeing just one scholarship player from the two counties (Armwood's Jarvis McCall) joining the Bulls for 2012.
 
Guest asked: "Where they did the Ruben Gonzalez 1st team sighting come from, going in he was the 7th guy at best even behind Bravo Brown. Where's Bravo, he's one of the more experience?"
Guest asked: "Who do you think wins out the wide reciver battles, Mitchell or Marc, Griffin or Davis, and will Dunkley move to where Welch and Gonzalez are on the other side? Who would win out there?"
-- I was surprised to see Gonzalez listed on the first team, if only because I hadn't seen that much from him in what the media's allowed to see this spring. Keep in mind that a mid-spring depth chart is as much a motivational tool as it is an accurate depiction of who's where. Realistically, you'll have Sterling Griffin, Andre Davis, Deonte Welch and Victor Marc as more frequent targets this fall. You'd think Terrence Mitchell is ahead as well, and I'd put Gonzalez in that next group, with Chris Dunkley, Bravo-Brown, D'Vario Montgomery, perhaps Derrick Hopkins. This is a deep group, but especially this time of year, it's about doing things right more than talent.
 
Guest asked: "Do you see Poland as the starter next year, his minutes were drastically reduced later in the tournaments?"
-- Jawanza Poland will be the most experienced option at two-guard, but he has to be consistent. Like Rudd, he can beat you with the 3 or the highlight-reel dunk. Minutes will be hard to come by -- Hugh Robertson is gone, but you're adding JaVontae Hawkins, Musa Abdul-Aleem and Martino Brock to the mix at 2-3, plus potentially Sam Cassell Jr. ... Heath can be more specialized there, and should have better shooters and scorers at his disposal.
 
big fan asked: "Is there an indoor practice facility and on campus stadium in the works (or at least being considered)? If so, where would an on-campus stadium go anyways?"
Bullology asked: "Is there a time table on a stadium? Do you see USF saving to build a good one or going cheap just to get something on campus?
-- Definitely not in the works, but an indoor football facility would probably be next in line for new facilities. They're expensive -- after the Cowboys' accident, they cost more to build and insure. Last conversation I'd had with USF folks was that it might cost $10 million to do such an indoor center the right way. The northern schools have a more pressing need because it's cold, but for USF, it eliminates the threat of rain wiping out a practice session. As far as an on-campus stadium, there's just an enormous financial hurdle to clear -- Minnesota's stadium was like $290 million if I remember right, so it'd be much closer to that than what UCF built a few years back. That requires a much larger level of annual donations than what USF has right now, and untl that changes, it's not a front-burner priority.
 
Guest asked: "Will Watson and Chandler make a push on Sager for starter? What have you thought about their spring play?"
-- The battle for the open starting job at defensive tackle has seen Luke Sager working with the first team all spring. Elkino Watson showed great promise in the first half of last season, but was pretty quiet down the stretch; Todd Chandler was ineligible last year but has really responded well, staying in good shape and earning a second-team spot. Those are probably the four that will see the most time in fall, though Clavion Nelson is transitioning in from end as well. James Hamilton, who enrolled in January, has been limited all spring -- don't recall what his injury is, but he's more likely to redshirt this fall as a result. To answer your question, impressed by Chandler and Watson, and I don't expect them to play much fewer snaps than Sager. Grissom is far and away the best DT USF has this fall.
 
The Don asked: "Have you seen Marc taking snaps in the Wildcat? They ran it only a few times, but I think it was successful. Marc completed a 25 yard pass out of that formation."
-- Can't say I've seem much gimmickry at all this spring -- it's much more a time for base drills and fundamentals. Marc's background as a high school quarterback makes him ideal for a Wildcat type package in a direct-snap role, but remember that B.J. Daniels is in a constant Wildcat situation with his dual threat to pass and run.
 
Guest asked: "Lots of people who have seen both Eveld and Floyd saying someone should come in next year and beat them out? Just heard they are not very good, especially Eveld."
-- Way too early to judge Floyd, who is really getting his first meaningful reps this spring after redshirting last fall. Eveld hasn't shown as much progress as you'd like from a third-year quarterback, but he's battling for the starting job. Just by the nature of Daniels being a four-year starter, the 2013 job is going to be wide-open, which is an inviting thing for elite-level QB recruits.
 
USF Bill asked: "Do you know if the Football team will start in Vero in Aug?"
-- USF hasn't announced anything officially, but everything I've heard is that they'll be back again for two weeks in August at the Vero Beach Sports Village. Holtz loves the bunker mentality of being sequestered away with zero distractions, both for being able to build a focus and also the chemistry that comes with the close quarters. I fully expect the Bulls to be back there in August.
 
Guest asked: "Can we expect Eric Lee to play next year, we have no 5th dend . How has Nelson and Thompson looked at 3rd string tackle? Hans Louis as middle linebacker?
-- Eric Lee looks very impressive -- needs to add some bulk, but has long arms and quick moves, and the work this spring will put him way ahead of Guito Ervilus and Daniel Perry in the fall. I wouldn't be surprised at all if he plays as the No. 5 end, behind Giddins, Forte, Mims and Hill. Nelson has put on considerable weight in his time on campus, but I can't say I've seen that much of him. Thompson is out with injury again, which has been his story since he got to campus. USF has a walk-on in Ruben Garcia working as the second middle linebacker right now, with redshirt freshman Corian Hamilton next in line. Not sure where Louis fits in as a sophomore this fall.
 
Guest asked: "Lamar looks like the best running back on the team, all the other looked terrible last scrimmage. He's our only plus 20 guy at running back. Will Shaw, Battles, and Davis ever perform in game situations?"
Guest asked: Who do you think will contribute the most this year at the running back position, Marcus Shaw or Lamar?
-- None of the RBs had much luck in the first half of last week's scrimmage, but Lamar had a great second half. He's not big enough to be an every-down back, but he could be a solid No. 2 to Demetris Murray. The coaches are very high on Shaw, but need to him to mature and be consistent. He sat out Wednesday's practice with a sore knee.
 
Guest asked: Will Collins leave after next year, top NBA true point guards are hard to find.
-- I don't see Anthony Collins leaving early -- great, great college point guard, but with his size, he's not as immediate an NBA prospect. He'll work on improving his shooting -- he emerged as a more confident shooter in the second half of his freshman season.
 
Guest asked: "Spencer Boyd on the depth chart, is that a surprise? Can he get scholly back? Is there a chance Lejiste might not start over joyce and Jenkins?"
-- I've yet to see Boyd in anything higher than a third-string situation except due to injuries. Your top three, hands down, will be Joyce, Lejiste and Jenkins. After that, it's generally been walk-ons Ernie Tabuteau and Trevon Griffin, with redshirt freshman C.J. Garye next. That would put Boyd as the seventh safety, which means he's likely relegated to special-teams help. He is not assured of a scholarship right now, and Holtz put some requirements on his return -- not sure whether he'll get one for the fall or not. And if Lejiste is healthy, I expect him to start. His wrist has kept him out of all contact situations this spring.
 
Guest asked: "Will USF win the 4 x 100 metter relay in the Big East this year?"
-- Good question -- you have to like the Bulls' chances with Lindsey Lamar and Derrick Hopkins, who both have Big East individual sprint titles. The Bulls actually get to host the Big East outdoor track championships on May 4-6 this year.
 
Guest asked: "How much impact do you think a smaller receiver like Derrick Hopkins can have this coming year? It seems that the larger, bigger-body receivers are all at the top of the depth chart."
-- USF has to find a way to best utilize its smaller speed guys, like Hopkins and Lindsey Lamar and Terrence Mitchell. Fitch said first week of spring that he was impressed by Hopkins' work ethic and wanted to get him more involved in the offense. His only catches so far have come in the FAMU game last year.
 
Guest asked: "Can you see Lattimore, Giddens,Grissom, and Webster being NFL day prospects? Can Mims have a JPP breakout? Will barrington be drafted as one of the top senior linebackers?"
-- I think of all four of those as likely NFL draft picks. Mims looks ready to step on the field -- just a matter of learning the system as well as possible in the next four months. I think Barrington is a draft pick as well.
 
Guest asked: "Will there a banner raising open night in the Dome?"
-- Absolutely. Stan Heath is working on finding a strong opening opponent for the new Sun Dome in November -- they'll make it an event to raise an NCAA banner in the rafters for sure.
 
Guest asked: "How scary has it been in practice watching 4 redshirt freshman on the second team oline? How has Jacques looked, and can we lable Matthews a bust when he can't beat underclassmen out but Martin can considering they have 2 years of college playing experience as startes?"
-- USF thinks very highly of those freshmen -- Darrell Williams will be a sophomore, and then you have Thor Jozwiak, Brynjar Gudmundsson and Max Lang as redshirt freshmen in the fall. Gudmundsson might end up as a starting guard. Jacques is running with the second team, but I don't know that he's going to be more than that. Hard to call Mathews a bust when he's only had 11 practices in his USF career -- he isn't as quick to pick it up as Lawrence Martin, clearly, but let's get to September before you render any judgments.
 
Guys, thanks again for a ton of great questions. You're always welcome to leave more in the comments here, or shoot me an e-mail at auman@tampabay.com ...

[Last modified: Thursday, April 12, 2012 4:12pm]

    

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