Kean observation: Freshman pushing for No. 2 job
As junior Quinton Flowers widens the gulf between himself and the others on USF's quarterback depth chart, the battle for the No. 2 job has emerged as one of the spring's most interesting story lines.
And 10 practices in, Brett Kean appears to be winning it.
The 6-foot-1 redshirt freshman -- Mike White's high school backup once upon a time -- again took the majority of snaps with the No. 2 offense Wednesday. UCLA transfer Asiantii Woulard, the second quarterback to get snaps in Saturday afternoon's situational scrimmage, had limited reps.
"(Kean) is getting better," said Coach Willie Taggart, who recently indicated Kean and Woulard were battling for the backup job. "He's fun to watch. He's more athletic than you think."
To this point, Kean and Woulard have taken reps primarily with the second- and third-team offenses, with some first-team snaps interspersed. While Woulard (6-3, 215) possesses more physical upside, Kean has surprised many practice observers -- teammates included -- with his velocity.
On Wednesday, he rebounded from a telegraphed short pass, intercepted by MLB Auggie Sanchez, with a 10-yard laser over the middle to FB Riley Sheehan for a touchdown in red zone work. In Saturday's scrimmage, he went 3-for-4 for 46 yards on a short scoring drive ending with Emilio Nadelman's 32-yard field goal.
"Brett's kind of, 'I've got a chip on my shoulder,'" quarterbacks coach Shaun King said. "'I'm gonna show everybody like, not only do I belong here, but I should be on the field.'"
Woulard, who directed no scoring drives Saturday, acknowledged he's "starting from scratch a little bit" after spending all of 2015 as scout-team quarterback. Despite some highlights of his own including a very strong inaugural spring practice, he has visibly struggled with his consistency.
"They all can play," King said. "The thing about quarterbacks that's hard to do is be consistent. That's why Q's the No. 1 guy, because Q's consistent. It's something those other guys are working on."
RUFF TO ARIZONA: Fourth-year junior Cameron Ruff, entrenched at left guard this spring, leaves Thursday for the four-day NCAA Student-Athlete Leadership Forum in Phoenix.
A business management major set to graduate this fall, Ruff is among roughly 300 student-athletes from around the country selected to attend the annual event, which features team activities, seminars and talks from leaders in various fields.
"Cam and I talked about this back in January," Taggart said. "I told him there was only one condition he can go, and that's if he comes back and leads this football team. He's going, so that means he's gonna come back and be a great leader for us."
ODDS AND ENDS: FS Devin Abraham remains sidelined with an upper-body injury, but Taggart indicated Wednesday it's nothing serious. Malik Dixon worked with the first team in Abraham's place. ... Redshirt sophomore DE Vincent Jackson got extensive first-team work Wednesday. "Each day you turn on the film you see something, he's doing something to to stand out," Taggart said. ... Kean on Sanchez's interception, in which the veteran linebacker jumped a route. "He kind of baited me into throwing that, but it's not gonna happen too much."