USF's Fitch has high praise for Scott, freshmen
Talked to USF offensive coordinator Todd Fitch on Thursday night and got lots of good notes as the Bulls work toward Saturday's scrimmage -- we'll be back in Vero for that and should have lots to share from that.
-- Asked for what has surprised or impressed him the most from the first week and change of fall practice, Fitch didn't hesitate in pointing to junior running back Darrell Scott, the transfer from Colorado who continues to show more after sitting out last season.
"The biggest thing I've been the most impressed with is Darrell Scott, and not because he's a good running back. We all know he's physically talented," Fitch said. "I tell you what, he has become a well-rounded player. He's blocking. He's route-running. I think he has the highest completion catching percentage of all our skill players, catching the ball probably at a 96 percent rate. He's working every snap. I told him two nights ago as the team was going on 'I'm very proud of the way you're working and blocking and route-running, just being an all-around player and not just when the ball is in your hands."
-- Fitch said USF's receivers as a whole have "come a million miles" from last season. He said sophomore Sterling Griffin had shown flashes in the spring, but has impressed coaches with his consistency this fall. "Today was Practice 9, and he hasn't had a bad day yet," Fitch said. "He's running a lot faster. It's confidence as much as anything. He's been a really pleasant surprise from a consistency basis."
-- Freshman receivers Andre Davis and Ruben Gonzalez have shown coaches why they were recruited, making a strong case to play this fall. "Those guys really have a chance to be special players here," Fitch said. "Andre has great hands, will go get the ball in the air. Probably gives us something we didn't have here last year. Just a guy that attacks the ball at its high point. Great ball skills, great adjustment on our high ball. He's surprised me a little bit. He has a chance, we'll see Saturday, but a real chance to help us this year."
-- I asked Fitch about walk-on Jake Carlton, a redshirt freshman from Lakewood Ranch who was catching a lot of passes in Vero and has established himself as the team's No. 2 long-snapper behind senior Mike Walsh.
"He's a gifted player. He has football IQ, he studies the game relentlessly. It sounds stupid, but the players play basketball with him in the offseason, and they'll tell you he's a really good basketball player. He's a better athlete than you think he is. He's a jack of all trades. He's a pretty savvy inside receiver, a flex tight end, H-back kind of guy. He has a chance to be a really good long-snapper. There's a good chance he'll be the backup. He's going to have a valuable role on this football team, as the backup long-snapper and fourth or fifth tight end. We're excited as heck to have him, and before his career is over here, he'll make a significant contribution to this football program."
-- There are seven true freshman offensive linemen in camp -- five on scholarship -- and Fitch said three in particular have shown the most promise early. The first he mentioned is Orlando tackle Darrell Williams, who is the lightest of the group at 6-foot-5, 245 pounds.
"He's very athletic. We knew he was a good player coming out of the Orlando area. He really moves his feet well. He has a chance, and we'll see what happens in the scrimmage," Fitch said. "(Guard) Brynjar Gudmundsson is a tremendous athlete for a lineman, and (center) Thor Jozwiak. Those three are probably a little ahead of the curve. We'll see how they do Saturday. Those three we're going to look hard at. Are they able to contribute this early in their career? Max Lang at the other tackle has a chance to be a really good player, and Boo Simon, he won't play this year probably, he'll be a redshirt candidate, but I tell you what, when you sign five scholarship offensive linemen ... we're really excited about that group. Good people, hard-working, good students that like to play the game."