Spring football: Return of an original
Spring football is here, and to preview spring drills, we had a feature in Tuesday's paper on new defensive ends coach Kevin Patrick, back in football after a nine-year absence. We'll also get our first look today at assistant John Hendrick, who will work with the defensive tackles. Defensive line is a key position in terms of establishing depth this spring, so both coaches will be busy ...
USF released its spring prospectus on Monday night, and as we first reported last week, sophomore Sampson Genus is now working at nose tackle, where he's listed as a top backup to Terrell McClain. They're listing Chris Robinson as a strongside linebacker again, backing up Tyrone McKenzie, as opposed to a defensive end, where he was said to be at the end of last season.
USF is opening spring with sophomore Alonzo McQueen listed as the starting middle linebacker, but he'll be pushed hard by junior college transfer Kion Wilson. You could compare it to last spring, when McKenzie wasn't listed as a starter. The mike linebacker is a recognition position, crucial to lining up the defense in the right places, so that aspect is the most important part of Wilson's spring progress. Wilson is now wearing No. 42, since Marvin Peoples doesn't need it anymore ...
Best position battle? It might be at strong safety, where seniors Carlton Williams and Danny Verpaele both have a wealth of experience. Verpaele was ineligible last fall, but he's a little faster than Williams. USF is listing Williams as starter and Verpaele as the backup free safety, but either could start at strong, with the other likely working as the nickel defensive back.
One small injury update: Sophomore walk-on receiver David Cozzo (that's koh-zo, not cozz-oh) has a broken arm and won't be able to participate in spring drills ... And I neglected last week to blog on two new freshman walk-ons: Defensive end Rony DeLisca, a 6-foot2, 220-pound Wharton grad, is wearing No. 48, and receiver Jeffrey Wilson, a 6-foot, 165-pounder from Miramar Everglades High, is wearing No. 83. More on them when I can track down their coaches ...
So who takes over, at least on the current depth chart, for the departing seniors?
-- Senior Tyller Roberts moves up to take Trae Williams' spot as a starting cornerback, with sophomore Dylan Douglas moving into the backup slot
-- Junior Jerome Murphy moves up to take Mike Jenkins' spot as a starting cornerback, with redshirt freshman Quenton Washington moving into the backup slot
-- Sophomore Alonzo McQueen moves up to take Ben Moffitt's spot at middle linebacker, with junior Kion Wilson pushing him as the top backup
-- Sophomore Terrell McClain moves up to take Richard Clebert's spot at starting nose tackle, with sophomore Sampson Genus moving into the backup slot
-- Senior Jarriett Buie moves up to take Woody George's spot as starting left end, with junior walk-on Matt Aycox moving into the backup slot
-- Sophomore walk-on Jacob Sims takes Walt Walker's spot as starting right tackle
-- Redshirt freshman Patrick Richardson takes Courtney Denson's spot as backup receiver
-- Redshirt freshman Kevin McCaskill takes Nick Capogna's spot as backup center
-- Redshirt freshman walk-on Chaz Hine and redshirt freshman Thomas Edenfield are both listed at Jared Carnes' spot as backup right tackle
-- Redshirt freshman Keith McCaskill takes now-departed Brandon Peguese's spot as backup three-technique defensive tackle
-- Sophomore Sabbath Joseph takes now-departed Donte Spires' spot as backup weakside linebacker
Thoughts? Questions going into spring drills? We'll have lots more from today's first practice, which is closed to the public and only open to the media for the first half-hour ...