Practice report: Bulls again avoid heat, casualties
Four days into the 2016 preseason, two things have remained mostly scarce at USF practices: sunlight and injuries.
The Bulls staged their first full-pads workout -- and third beneath cloud cover -- on Monday, avoiding live tackling but engaging in plenty of what Coach Willie Taggart calls "thudding."
"I was really impressed with the way our guys took the part where we talked about thudding up and practicing great form," Taggart said. "I thought our guys did that and took care of their teammates in the process."
Meantime, the injury sheet stayed essentially blank. CB Ronnie Hoggins, who bumped knees with a defender on Friday and exited practice early, returned Monday.
"When Ronnie's out there our defense plays with a lot of energy," said Taggart, who holds his first two-a-day session Tuesday. "Smallest guy out there (5-foot-8, 170 pounds), but plays with so much passion, plays so big."
MIXING IT UP: What shapes up as perhaps the brawniest receiving corps in school history now is working on the physicality to match.
Noticeable during the Bulls' three open practices was the receivers using all means necessary -- from employing elbows to stepping on toes -- to get leverage on defensive backs. Players say that has been a focal point so far with first-year position coach T.J. Weist.
"Coach Weist stays on us about being physical," said junior Ryeshene Bronson, who insists he is completely recovered from the groin injury that sidelined him this past spring. "Anybody that steps in our way, he definitely tells us to dominate 'em, win the battle every time."
ODDS AND ENDS: The offensive highlight of Monday's practice was an 80-yard TD pass from Quinton Flowers to Rodney Adams, according to the team's official Twitter handle. ... Senior WLB Nigel Harris said he entered camp at 218 pounds, 13 fewer than he weighed last season. "I feel quicker, more agile, and I feel smooth when I'm doing my defensive drills and everything," he said. It appears freshman Andre Polk currently is backing up Harris. ... Walk-on TE Adrian Palmore is rooming with his former Lakewood High teammate, Marquez Valdes-Scantling. ... The second-team offensive line (as it appeared Saturday): LT Marcus Norman, LG Michael Smith, C Michael Galati, RG Glen Bethel, RT Eric Mayes. Galati also took some first-team snaps.
AUDIBLE: "When you're winning, everyone's happy. That's all we care about is winning. We don't care about who gets the ball. We don't care about who scores the touchdowns. As long as we win games and go after the championship and win that, that's all we care about." -- Valdes-Scantling, when asked whether there will be enough ball distribution to keep all the Bulls receivers content