USF spring primer: What to expect in next month
USF football starts its spring drills on the Bulls' brand-new practice fields on Thursday afternoon, and we're offering up our spring preview, with new players to watch and goals for the Bulls before spring practice wraps up in five weeks. Here you go ...
THREE NEWCOMERS TO WATCH
Darrell Scott, Jr., RB: The transfer from Colorado sat out last fall is drawing high praise from Holtz: "Darrell Scott, I think, is a freak show," he said Tuesday. "He's about 6-2, 235 pounds. He looks great. He's big, he's strong, he's physical. He can run. I think he's really going to bring something to the offense. But there's great competition there right now."
Quinterrius Eatmon, Fr., OT: He redshirted in the fall, and "Q" has dropped considerable weight already and will compete for a starting job at offensive tackle. "He's a freshman, down to about 315 pounds. He came in at about 370," Holtz said. "He looks great. He's changing his body. All the sudden, he's cut all the sleeves out of all his shirts. He looks like Larry the Cable Guy now. You have the right to bare arms, you know."
Reshard Cliett, Fr., LB: Unsung recruit from Georgia came to USF as a safety, but has added about 20 pounds since coming to campus and will compete for the starting strongside linebacker job. He's had as much buzz about him as any of the redshirt freshmen.
FIVE GOALS FOR SPRING
1. Find new big-play threats on offense. After just a cameo on offense as a freshman, can Terrence Mitchell learn the position enough to get in USF's two-deep at receiver? Can redshirt freshman Deonte Welch move up past more experienced receivers? Can hybrid TE/WRs Isaac Virgin and Andreas Shields establish themselves as consistent targets downfield? And can injured veterans A.J. Love and Sterling Griffin, who both sat out last season while recovering, get back to their old form and shine again?
2. Find three new starters on the offensive line. Center Sampson Genus and tackles Jake Sims and Jamar Bass are gone. Where does Danous Estenor fit in -- at guard or center? Can freshman Quinterrius Eatmon prove himself enough to be a starter? Can Plant City's Mark Popek lock down one of the tackle jobs? And can an unproven group of reserves earn coaches' confidence as the new second-stringers?
3. Identify a No. 3 quarterback behind B.J. Daniels and Bobby Eveld. Holtz wants to see what Jamius Gunsby -- who redshirted last fall -- and newcomer Matt Floyd, who arrived in January, can do behind USF's two more experienced passers. Is Gunsby, also a high school basketball star with a 6-4, 235-pound frame, athletic enough to help at another position? Can any of the young quarterbacks challenge Daniels after his solid bowl showing in beating Clemson?
4. Decide what to do at strongside linebacker. The Bulls can either move one of their stellar middle linebackers, Sam Barrington and Mike Lanaris, to the outside, or they can hand the keys over to a newcomer. Junior Mike Jeune, a high school teammate of Barrington's, arrived in January from junior college, and there's redshirt freshman Reshard Cliett, as well as newcomer Antoine Pozniak, who arrived in January. Add in sophomore DeDe Lattimore at weakside, and linebacker might be the Bulls' strongest position this fall.
5. Get the most out of four talented safeties. The deepest position might be safety, with veterans starters in senior Jerrell Young and junior Jon Lejiste, as well as two sophomores who made impressive debuts last fall in Mark Joyce and JaQuez Jenkins. The Bulls don't have nearly the same depth at cornerback behind starters Quenton Washington and Kayvon Webster, so finding a way to maximize those four is a key to getting the most out of the secondary this fall.
The Bulls have five practices -- three in pads -- before USF goes on spring break for a week. So the Bulls won't practice from April 9 until April 21, with 10 more workouts that lead up to the spring game at Raymond James Stadium on April 2, as well as a new feature, the "Green and Gold Bowl," an open scrimmage on April 9 to close out spring drills.