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Day 5 report: Freshman RBs step up



TAMPA -- While the Bulls engaged in no live hitting during their first full-padded workout Friday afternoon, Coach Willie Taggart saw enough contact from his freshman tailbacks to be encouraged.

Four-star recruits Marlon Mack and D'Ernest Johnson are almost certain to log a degree of duty this fall after attrition cost USF three of the top four rushers from 2013. On Friday, both took handoffs -- and took on rushers -- during 11-on-11 periods.

"They were very impressive today, and not just running the football but pass blocking," Taggart said.

"Usually you get a freshman in here, he doesn't want any of that action, but we tell our guys you'll find it hard to play running back in our system if you can't pass block. And those guys are pretty physical. I mean, I was really excited to see those guys come in and get physical with our defense and pick up protection."

LANARIS DISMISSED: A day after his arrest on a misdemeanor shoplifting charge in northwest Tampa, Bulls graduate-assistant Michael Lanaris was dismissed from the program, the school announced. Lanaris was arrested Thursday at 2:40 a.m. at a Gunn Highway shopping plaza, less than six hours before the Bulls staged their first full-squad workout of the preseason.

ADAMS SIDELINED: WR Rodney Adams, whose first four days of practice were arguably as solid as any receiver in camp, suited up Friday but wore a protective boot on his right foot and didn't engage in contact.

"He's got a funny little deal," Taggart said. "Rodney came out and had a heck of a practice yesterday and went to class, and came back and said his foot started hurting. For some reason you touch it and it hurts. We got him with the doctors and it didn't show any broken bones or anything, so we're just gonna monitor him."

FLASHES OF THE FUTURE? Freshman QB Quinton Flowers provided one of the highlights of Friday's workout when he tucked the ball on an apparent zone-read play and darted and diced his way for a TD of roughly 30 yards.

The next play, his pass to the right sideline -- intended for classmate Stanley Clerveaux -- was picked by Jalen Spencer.

"He's coming along. Again, this offense is not easy to learn," Taggart said.

"We tell Quinton to just play football. Don't over-think things, don't try to do like those (older) guys, go do what you do. And I think that's what you saw on that run; he didn't think, he just reacted. And on the pick, I think he telegraphed that. He was locked into throwing to one guy."

PETTUS PROGRESSING: Though sidelined the last couple of days with a right quad contusion, former East Bay High standout Kieran Pettus appears a solid candidate for a spot in the edge-rushing rotation and/or special teams.

A third-year sophomore walk-on, Pettus slid from defensive end to outside linebacker after transforming his body -- from 265 to 225 pounds -- in the offseason.

"I guess my work ethic picked up," said Pettus, who didn't appear in a game last season. "After seeing some of the guys and how hard they worked, like Ryne Giddins and DeDe Lattimore, I followed after them guys a little bit and my work ethic picked up. And once my work ethic picked up, my weight just started falling. I got stronger, faster and I felt better at the weight."

AUDIBLE: "Our kicker and our punter, I'll put them up against anybody in the country." -- Taggart on PK Marvin Kloss (a 2013 Groza Award finalist) and P Mattias Ciabatti

[Last modified: Friday, August 8, 2014 7:51pm]


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