Spring practice report: Atterbury having breakthrough camp
Only a month ago, many Bulls fans were looking to St. Petersburg Catholic alumnus Reilly Gibbons as the prospective anchor on the Bulls' refurbished offensive line.
Gibbons has since been forced to give up the game (due to a recurring knee injury), but the Pinellas County flavor up front remains profound. Fact is, if the season began today, Clearwater Central Catholic alumnus Billy Atterbury would be the starting right tackle.
"I'm really, really impressed with Billy Atterbury," Coach Willie Taggart said after Wednesday's practice. "He's aggressive, he's smart and he's highly competitive, and that's just what we want."
A 6-foot-4, 295-pound redshirt freshman, Atterbury lined up with the first-team line on the opening day of spring practice and hasn't relinquished his spot. The scenario's not unlike the 2015 preseason, when veteran backup Mak Djulbegovic lined up at starting right tackle -- to the surprise of many -- and stayed there all 13 games.
Count first-year OL coach Darren Hiller among the surprised. Hiller, who recruited Atterbury when he was still employed at Cincinnati, said he projected Atterbury as a guard, and that was before he suffered a minor offseason injury.
"The thing that makes Billy special is Billy knows what everybody is doing," Hiller said. "He really knows what everybody's doing on offense pretty much. So that helps him from an o-line perspective."
ODDS AND ENDS: Thursday's 9 a.m. workout is the Bulls' last before Saturday's 4 p.m. spring game. ... TB Marlon Mack had a TD run of roughly 50 yards -- his longest of the spring -- in an 11-on-11 period Wednesday. ... Plant ILB Thomas Allen, son of the former Bulls defensive coordinator, was among a handful of Panthers attending Wednesday's workout. ... Arguably the nicest pass of the day: Brett Kean's completion over the middle to Deangelo Antoine on a long post route. ...
AUDIBLE: "I thought it was interesting on some of the picks, but I think it will be a better game than we had last year because of the talent level. I think the parity is a lot closer than what it was before." -- Taggart on the recent draft for Saturday's Green and White Game (word has it that Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Rodney Adams both are on the Green team)