USF journal: speedster Duran Bell making fast impression
In a year when they can afford to redshirt some freshman offensive skill guys, the Bulls might be tempted to make an exception for Duran Bell Jr.
The Hillsborough High alumnus has taken significant reps -- in the backfield and return game -- through the first two weeks of camp, and was mentioned by older peers Monday as a player who has stood out in USF's logjam at running back.
"He's been excellent," running backs coach Shaun King said after Monday morning's practice.
"He's done everything we've asked of him. He's a track guy, so he has that extra burst, that extra gear, and we're gonna have some things for him. We've got him back there trying to be involved on special teams because I think that's the key ingredient.
"But I couldn't be happier about what he's been able to do."
Hillsborough High's athlete of the year in both football and track last year, Bell finished second in the 400 meters, third in the 200, and seventh in the 100 (behind winner and current USF teammate Chauncy Smart) at last season's Class 3A state meet.
Counting all four classifications, only two runners recorded a faster 400 time than Bell (46.41 seconds) at state last season.
"He showed us clips of him running in the 400, so it transitions out here on the football field," senior RB D'Ernest Johnson said. "He broke a lot of long runs."
ODDS AND ENDS: With summer school finished and the first day of fall classes still two weeks away, Monday's practice marked the start of the Bulls' camp in the more conventional sense (morning practices, afternoon meetings, etc.) ... S Tajee Fullwood, who injured his left ankle at Saturday's practice, remained in a walking boot. Others rehabbing included WR Stanley Clerveaux, DE Vincent Jackson and CB Ronnie Hoggins. ... Senior Darius Tice said fellow TB Jordan Cronkrite, a Florida transfer sitting out this season, has asserted himself through the first two weeks. "He's aggressive," Tice said. "One thing about him, when they say the hammer or the nail, he's the hammer. He made that known." ... QB Chris Oladokun, battling mononucleosis according to sources close to him, appeared at Monday's practice but wasn't suited up.
AUDIBLE: "I tell our wide receivers all the time, the best pass-catching group on the team is in the running back room. I'll take my guys man for man versus any of our wide receivers, so make sure they know this." -- King, who was half-joking (we think)