Spring has sprung: Pre-practice USF notes
USF's first spring football practice starts in 20 minutes or so, but Skip Holtz met with reporters for about 45 minutes this afternoon, previewing the spring, running through his offense and defense and addressing all sorts of things. Lots more to come, but here's the quick version -- it's a good time to remind you guys to follow me at Twitter.com/gregauman for little nuggets like these ...
-- Few new injuries to report: safety Jerrell Young limited with stress fracture in leg, TE Andreas Shields limited with back issues. We've mentioned that cornerback Ricardo Dixon has his own back problems. Freshman OT Jake Kaufman is out with his back, and RB Bradley Battles and FB/TE Jeff Hawkins as expected will miss spring recovering from their ACL tears in December. WR Lindsey Lamar is also out after undergoing shoulder surgery in January.
-- Among the spring experiments Holtz will look at is trying DT Anthony Hill at defensive end. Hill checks in at 293 pounds and will still likely see most of his time at tackle. And after moving linebacke Armando Sanchez over to fullback, Holtz said he'll give another linebacker, walk-on Chris Breit, a look at fullback as well.
-- Interesting note in wake of SI cover story on college football and arrests: Holtz said USF runs background checks on incoming recruits, and said he's done so in the past, presumably at East Carolina. I'm not aware of USF football doing this in past seasons.
-- New practice fields will be overflowing today and tomorrow, as Holtz said he'll have about 60 prospective walk-ons working out the first two days, and he'll end up keeping between 15 and 18 for the rest of spring drills. Once the new arrivals come this summer, there may only be a handful of spots on USF's 105-man roster for August out of the new walk-ons. We'll get names as soon as we can. ...
-- Holtz says his defensive grad assistant from last fall, Marcus Patton, has taken defensive backs coach job at Indiana State.
-- It's six months to the day until USF opens season at Notre Dame. "We've got to be ready coming out of the chute," Holtz says, remembering how when he was at Notre Dame, opening the season against Michigan made for a sharper winter, spring and summer in anticipation of a big opener.