Spring practice report: Defense finds atonement
A report from Saturday's situational scrimmage at Pinellas Park High, with the help of on-site correspondent Chris Lemus:
Barely discernible against the first-team offense during last weekend's situational scrimmage on campus, the "Bull Shark" defense brandished a bit more dorsal Saturday at Pinellas Park High.
The unit registered three interceptions -- four if you count Auggie Sanchez's pick negated by a flag -- and no fewer than four sacks in Saturday's scrimmage, the last extensive one before next weekend's spring game.
Unofficially, the defense held its counterparts scoreless on 16 of 22 drives, though starting QB Quinton Flowers managed three more touchdown passes and no official picks.
"It was definitely an improvement off last Saturday," Sanchez said.
"We definitely improved, and throughout practice this week, you could see us improve. We had some really good days, and we're all kind of starting to get the hang of it. Coach (Raymond) Woodie's starting to get the hang of being the defensive coordinator."
Flowers found A.J. Legree for a 43-yard TD on the day's opening drive, and later hooked up with TB D'Ernest Johnson on a 37-yard score and Lakewood alumnus Marquez Valdes-Scantling on a 25-yard strike in the corner of the end zone.
But his backups' big moments were offset by miscues. Sophomore Ronnie Hoggins had a return of roughly 50 yards on a pick of redshirt freshman Brett Kean, and UCLA transfer Asiantii Woulard was picked by CB Jalen Spencer and MLB Danny Thomas.
Kean also found TE Kano Dillon on a crisp throw over the middle for a 30-yard TD. Woulard's 12-yard TD pass to Tyre McCants was negated by a holding call, but the drive ended with an Emilio Nadelman 46-yard field goal.
"It was going back and forth today, which I was okay with," Coach Willie Taggart said.
"But there were a lot of mistakes, especially on offense. A lot of missed assignments, and that can't happen. We're in Day 11 now...and that's got to be better. We had a lot of dropped balls and too many turnovers. So we've got a lot of things we've got to correct and get better, but I thought overall it was a good scrimmage."
MEMORIES AT THE PARK: Saturday's workout at Pinellas Park represented a homecoming of sorts for eight active Bulls from Pinellas county. Sanchez, whose interception of Flowers was negated by a defensive holding call, played against Pinellas Park twice during his time at Northeast High.
“My freshman year I played quarterback and we won (against) Pinellas Park,” said Sanchez, who operated a wing-T offense back in the day.
ODDS AND ENDS: The Bulls return to the Morsani Practice Complex on Monday for a public 9 a.m. workout. ... Thomas registered a sack (or more specifically, a whistle upon making light contact with the quarterback), as did DT Deadrin Senat, sixth-year senior Daniel Awoleke and Jefferson High alumnus Juwuan Brown. ... Redshirt freshman WR Deangelo Antoine had a 40-yard catch on fourth down. "I think that kid is special," Taggart said. "He's gonna be very, very helpful for us this year."
AUDIBLE: "I didn't think they had to ban it. Something else they could've come up with, but just to kill it, for what? It's more to help the kids than anything, so I just thought there was a better way they could've done it. But that's what they chose to do and we've all got to abide by it and we will." -- Taggart on the NCAA's immediate ban on all football satellite camps. Taggart and his longtime friend, Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, were set to hold one at USF on June 4.