Newport Q&A with USF receiver Andre Davis
Still filing stuff from Rhode Island -- flying back home out of Providence and stopping for a minute in Baltimore, but want to share a Q&A with USF junior receiver Andre Davis, who represented the Bulls today along with defensive tackle Luke Sager. Davis had a breakout year in 2012 with six touchdowns and a monster game in the win at Nevada and he talked with us about the changes under new coach Willie Taggart.
Q: Being here, you get an appreciation for where USF is perceived in this new league. What's your attitude going into the season as far as what you guys can do as a team to establish yourself in the American?
A: I'm very confident. I know we can do big things in this conference. We have a great new coach. The defense is looking amazing. The offense is looking real good as well. I'm just ready to get in and get playing so we can show them that we're no pushover. We're going to do big things in this league.
Q: Where do you see the biggest difference? Where does this team show you it's better than it was a year ago?
A: On special teams. During the spring, we had a big emphasis on special teams. It's more important to us because that's where we lost games last season. Special teams was something that really wasn't important as a team last year. Coach T's made it more fun, made it more competitive. Special teams is just like offense and defense. (It wasn't like that in the past?) It was treated just like offense and defense, but it wasn't really acted upon.
Q: Where do you fit in on special teams?
A: I'm going to be anywhere I can play. I really want to help. I'll play gunner, punt returner if I have to, anything.
Q: Who's the most dangerous player on returns? You had a lot of guys line up back there this spring.
A: We're not live yet, so I'm not sure. We have a lot of young guys. Kenneth Durden, he's pretty good back there. I'm decent back there. I felt like it really wasn't that important to people (last year). People didn't really know how important special teams, punt return, kick return, actually really was. People were just out there doing their own thing.
Q: You're going to prepare for every game the same way, but what does it mean to get UCF on the schedule now every year?
A: It's going to be a real nice game. It's going to create a rivalry. It's going to be a real competitive game. We've got to go out there and do it. We want to be on top of the town.
Q: When USF played UCF back in 2005-08, the really confident kids, guys like Matt Grothe, they loved that series, because for all the talk, it comes down to what happens on the field.
A: Bringing out that win is most definitely going to be important. I'm sure there's going to a lot of talk. We know a lot of the other players. At the end of the day, that win is what's important.
Q: How excited are you to get pads on and start practicing?
A: I'm ready to go. I've been ready since the spring. I had a real good spring and I'm ready to show people we're here to do it. We're going to be a very good team and we're most definitely goinig to get to a bowl game this year.
Q: At receiver, people see that Sterling Griffin is gone, Terrence Mitchell is gone. Tell me who you see around you that will give you guys a deep group at receiver so secondaries can't just focus on you downfield.
A: This spring, everybody came along. Deonte (Welch), I love Deonte as a receiver. He's a real good receiver. He does everything right, very confident. He's just a guy who is going to go out and give you 100 percent, day in and day out. Guys like Flea (Derrick Hopkins) in the slot, he's very experienced, has been around a long time, so he knows the ins and outs of the position. Bravo (Stephen Bravo-Brown) has been around a long time, very conditioned receiver, runs real good route. Clint Jones, the walk-on, Ruben (Gonzalez) is a real good guy. We're going to have a lot of depth at receiver.
Q: What is different, being a receiver in this offense you're running this fall?
A: In this offense, I'm going to be moving around a lot, and that's what I like. I'm going to be playing everywhere, not just the outside. Inside and out. Coach Taggart has a really great offense, came from San Fran. It has to be good, because they made the Super Bowl.
Q: Do you watch any 49ers tape to see what their receivers do?
A: I've watched a lot of film. Coach Taggart has a lot of NFL cutups, San Fran cutups. Just seeing those guys, the way they use Michael Crabtree, for example. They move him around a lot. Inside, outside, underneath routes. If you have a dangerous receiver, you can use him i multiple ways. They're going to find ways to get him the ball.