Notes: Offense improved in second scrimmage
Our interview access to Willie Taggart is only before practices this spring, which can make for an awkward delay -- USF scrimmaged on Saturday, but it wasn't until Tuesday morning that we could ask him about the scrimmage and how it went. It's still just spring football, so it's not a huge deal -- other outlets are punting spring coverage entirely -- but it makes the news a little less newsy.
So first, here's video of Taggart talking about the second scrimmage, which saw better consistency from the offense, but more penalties, a familiar refrain for Bulls fans. There's specific praise for RB Mike Pierre, who looks to have established himself as the No. 2 running back behind Marcus Shaw, impressive considering he redshirted last fall behind Willie Davis and the since-suspended Bradley Battles.
More notes: Walk-on linebacker Ruben Garcia, who was consistently working as the No. 2 middle linebacker behind DeDe Lattimore, tore the ACL in his right knee during Saturday's scrimmage. Could he play in 2013? Taggart didn't rule it out, saying the window is six to eight months, but he is optimistic about Garcia being closer to six, which would allow for an October return, perhaps helping on special teams and depth in the second half of the season. With Garcia out, the No. 2 Mike would be junior Hans Louis, who hasn't had a tackle since the 2011 Florida A&M game.
Speaking of walk-ons, senior Brandon Salinas is getting a lot of work as a first-team cornerback, ahead of Kenneth Durden and Torrel Saffold. Salinas, you might remember, was a guy who got on the field often in 2011, but wasn't with the team last year, needing to work a part-time job to help pay the bills. He hasn't missed a beat since coming back and has impressed Taggart with his play this spring.
I might do a position-by-position post later -- for now, cool practice pic of the day is Walt Wells working on loose-ball drills with his offensive linemen, literally spiking the ball at their feet and making them anticipate the odd bounce and fall on the ball. "Hands on the tips, fetal position," is his simple coaching for the big fellas.