Young backfield: Lockette says four freshman backs could play
USF running backs coach Telly Lockette said Monday night that he expects freshman running backs Darius Tice and Sta'fon McCray to both play this fall, but said the two still have a lot to learn about pass protection in the Bulls offense.
"They're starting to understand a little bit. In protection and stuff like that, they're struggling, but the ins and outs and how to practice, I think they're doing a tremendous job, both of them," Lockette said. "As of now, both of them are scheduled to play. We've got two fullbacks, Auggie Sanchez and Kennard Swanson, who also will be in the mix. They've got to help us right away. I think all four can help us."
Lockette said he doesn't have any hesitation to turn to his freshmen, so long as they've shown coaches they can handle the complicated reads of pass protection and knowing who to pick up in blitzes.
"As long as they learn how to protect the quarterback, that's going to be key," Lockette said. "Most of them come from high school, where you have one protection. In college, that one turns into 20. You have to learn protection, and they're struggling in protection right now. That's what I would say would be the hindering spot in our playing them right now."
ONE JOB WON: Taggart said his punting job has been locked up by former walk-on Mattias Ciabatti, the Hillsborough grad who battled Justin Brockhaus-Kann the last two years. He was placed on scholarship this summer, perhaps anticipating the key role for the team.
"He's proven, day in and day out, that he can get the job done. I'm excited about him," said Taggart, who noted that the place-kicking job is still up for grabs between former walk-on Marvin Kloss and true freshman Emilio Nadelman.