Star-studded USF scout team: Hit me, I'm Irish
Ten days before USF goes to South Bend to open its season at Notre Dame, the Bulls are actively preparing for the Fighting Irish, and USF defensive coordinator Mark Snyder has already noticed an increase in the talent level of the scout-team players simulating the upcoming opponent.
"I thought our offensive scout team is far and away better than it was last year, which is a good thing," Snyder said. "You've got (Chris) Dunkley out there who can be just like 6 for them. You've got Andre Davis who can be just like 3 for them. For a scout team, I was pretty pleased."
Dunkley, sitting out this season after transferring from Florida, has the speed to give USF a sense for junior Theo Riddick, who had 40 catches for 414 yards and three scores, and Davis -- still likely to play as a true freshman -- has a bigger body to simulate Notre Dame's top target, 6-foot-3 Michael Floyd, who had 79 catches for 1,025 yards and 12 scores last year. Another freshman receiver, Ruben Gonzalez, is wearing No. 7 to show receiver TJ Jones, who had 23 catches and three scores in 2010.
To prepare USF's defense for Notre Dame's big tight ends, the Bulls have some of their tallest targets in big roles -- another Florida transfer, tight end Mike McFarland, is wearing No. 80 to show 6-foot-6, 249-pound Tyler Eifert, who caught 27 passes last season. Freshman quarterback Matt Floyd has the honor of simulating Notre Dame starting QB Dayne Crist, and the scout-team focus is so detailed that walk-on kicker Marvin Kloss is wearing No. 27 this week, a nod to Irish freshman punter/kicker Kyle Brindza.
MOVING OVER: We reported Monday that safety JaQuez Jenkins had earned the nod as a starter when USF moves to its nickel defense, but with lingering injuries (George Baker, Spencer Boyd) hurting the Bulls' depth at cornerback, Jenkins was working as a second-team corner at the start of Wednesday's practice. Jenkins played some cornerback in high school, and his size (6-2, 195) will help against taller receivers.