Cooper hoping to see freshman DBs this fall
Lots more to come from Vero Beach -- two practices on Sunday and lots from there -- but first, an update on USF's defensive backs coach Ron Cooper, who talked after Friday's practice in Tampa.
USF coach Willie Taggart has sung the praises of Lamar Robbins and Hassan Childs, and Cooper said those two -- and possibly others -- should be on the field this fall, making an immediate impact.
"We've got some pretty good freshmen, two really good freshmen, two to three that will play somewhere, at corner, safety or nickel," Cooper said. "It's a good battle, but I'm pleased with the way things look."
Asked if it's a safe bet Robbins and Childs will play this fall, Cooper said: "I'm hoping so. I don't know how much. We haven't been in a day of pads. But they move well, they tackle, they're not afraid. They've got athletic ability. Johnny Ward is included in that freshman group. Three pretty good freshmen that can step in, and we still have a safety, young kid, Nate (Godwin) too."
The first two names Cooper mentioned, again, with sophomore Kenneth Durden and senior walk-on Brandon Salinas, suggesting they're still making a case for starting roles. He's encouraged, too, with the progress of sophomore Chris Bivins, recovering from knee surgery and returning to form.
"He's done well," he said. "The first day, he was moving around a little timidly on it, but the last couple of days, Bivins has been real good."
In Tampa, junior Torrel Saffold was getting looks at safety -- Cooper said he wanted to add athleticism to the position, and he expects USF to line up in a lot of nickel coverage with a fifth defensive back, knowing many American opponents will work with three-receiver sets.
"We're going to have to do a lot of games with five DBs, and I thought safety gave Saffold the best opportunity to start," he said. "There's nothing set. The players joke that I change the depth chart every day, until we get the right combination that can get it done for us. We have to find the right group. The secondary takes the right chemistry to get it done, to make that special thing fit together."