Freshman fullbacks making their case to play
TAMPA -- Fullback hasn't been a prominent part of USF's offense since Richard Kelly graduated after the 2010 season, but the position should make a comeback this fall as a key part of Willie Taggart's offense.
Taggart and running backs coach Telly Lockette have talked about getting their running backs used to running with a blocker in front of them, and two true freshmen are making a case to play this fall in that role.
"I think our guys have adjusted very well, and we're starting to see a lot more success with our offense and the run game and doing what we're trying to build as an identity for our offense," Taggart said. "Auggie Sanchez did a great job (in Vero Beach) at fullback, (Kennard) Swanson's done a great job at fullback."
Both come to campus with good size for true freshmen -- Sanchez is listed at 6-foot-2, 233 pounds, and Swanson is 6-0 and 245. Sanchez was better known as a linebacker at St. Petersburg's Northeast High, totaling 160 tackles and 16 for losses as a senior. Swanson, rated by Rivals and 247sports as the nation's No. 2 fullback recruit, was committed to LSU and Florida during the recruiting process, and USF landed him after signing day, recognizing that he could make the academic improvements necessary to qualify to play for the Bulls.
The Bulls' other healthy options at fullback are walk-ons -- Ryan Eppes (6-1, 236) shifted over from linebacker this spring, and the Bulls also have junior Grant White (5-11, 239) and freshman Elliot Jacobs (5-11, 209). Sophomore Tye Turner (6-3, 261) has been sidelined more than a week with lingering issues from a neck stinger.
MAKING A PUSH: USF's true freshman defensive backs continue to make a showing on the depth chart -- corner Lamar Robbins wasn't working with the No. 2 defense in Monday's morning workout, but corner Johnny Ward was, as was safety Nate Godwin. ...
INJURY UPDATE: DT Luke Sager was out Monday with a hip injury, putting sophomore James Hamilton in with Elkino Watson on the No. 1 defense. With Julius Forte out until next week recovering from minor knee surgery, sophomore Aaron Lynch is working with the No. 1 defense, across from senior Tevin Mims. ... Receiver Alex Mut watched practice with his right arm in a sling, and with Chris Dunkley out with an ankle injury, the Bulls had just eight receivers participating in practice.
THIS AND THAT: USF worked to find the right players for its "hands team" to field onside kicks Monday, repeatedly kicking low kicks to a line of players standing just 10 yards away. Players fielded each kick and quickly dropped to the ground to secure the ball. ... When quarterbacks took snaps from centers at the start of drills, senior Bobby Eveld again was working with starting center Austin Reiter, while sophomore Matt Floyd was working with backup Kofi Amichia. ... With Thor Jozwiak out as he works to address concerns with an irregular heartbeat, sophomore Brynjar Gudmundsson and senior Lawrence Martin worked as first-team guards Monday.