Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

5 things to watch in USF Bulls' spring football practice

Though sophomore Mike White is the incumbent at quarterback, Willie Taggart made it clear in the offseason no one's job is safe in 2014.

OCTAVIO JONES | Times

Though sophomore Mike White is the incumbent at quarterback, Willie Taggart made it clear in the offseason no one's job is safe in 2014.

The second spring of the Willie Taggart era commences this morning at USF with a pair of new assistants, a handful of early enrollees, at least one prominent transfer and two certainties:

Competition for jobs will be heavier than ever. So will virtually every letterman.

In the wake of an intense winter under the direction of strength coach Hans Straub, the Bulls should be noticeably brawnier when they hit the Morsani Complex practice fields today. Here are five other things to watch as football on Fowler Avenue re-starts.

• Picking up the pace. By all accounts, Taggart's proverbial bus might possess a fifth gear in '14. Though still bent on run-first physicality, the Bulls, 121st nationally in total offense last year (255.5 ypg), likely will experiment with a heightened tempo this spring.

• Mass appeal. We've heard the collective average weight of the Bulls' offensive line has increased by as much as 20 pounds this winter. New offensive coordinator/line coach Paul Wulff said last week that the group must get stronger physically. The collective weight gain is a solid start.

• Standing throw to throw. Though sophomore Mike White is the incumbent at quarterback, Taggart made it clear in the offseason that no one's job is safe in 2014. A more brisk offensive pace would seem beneficial to a dual-threat sort such as Steven Bench. When freshman Quinton Flowers arrives this summer, the derby really could intensify.

• D-line makeover. As a result of graduation and early NFL declarations (see Lynch, Aaron), the top four players from last season's depth chart are gone. Early enrollees Demetrius Hill and Eric Mayes, who arrived from junior college and a prep school, respectively, were recruited to fill this pressing need.

• Wanted: leaders. Now that 2013 team MVP (and tackling leader) DeDe Lattimore has graduated, who emerges as the vocal leader and locker room pillar? A senior such as wideout Andre Davis or defensive tackle Todd Chandler? A prominent youngster such as White, linebacker Nigel Harris or safety Nate Godwin?

. Fast facts

USF spring practice

When: Today-March 29

Public practices: Friday (8:30 a.m.), Saturday (3 p.m.), March 7 (8:30 a.m.), March 8 (3 p.m.), March 21 (8:30 a.m.), March 22 (3 p.m.)

Spring game: 4 p.m., March 29, Raymond James Stadium

5 things to watch in USF Bulls' spring football practice 02/25/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 25, 2014 8:45pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. HomeTeam 100: Players 21-30

    Footballpreps

    TAMPA - Jesuit linebacker Anthony Nelson will help lead the Tigers into the 2017 season. Taken 5-17-17 by Scott Purks
  2. For starters: Cobb on the hill against Orioles

    Blogs

     

    Alex Cobb takes the mound, hoping to duplicate his performance from Friday when he was three outs away from pitching a complete game.
  3. Bucs DE Jacquies Smith (ACL) will start on active PUP list

    Blogs

    In the first quarter of a season opening win at Altanta last season, Jacquies Smith suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee while attemping to cover a punt.

    Jacquies Smith will begin training camp on the active Physically Unable to Perform list.
  4. Odorizzi on disabled list with lower back strain

    Blogs

    Odorizzi (6-4, 4.47) has been victimized this season by the long ball, allowing 23 home runs in his 18 starts. He will miss starts in homer-friendly Yankee Stadium and against the homer-happy Astros in Houston next week.

    Jake Odorizzi was placed on the 10-day disabled list this morning.
  5. Bucs rookies Beckwith, McNichols cleared for training camp

    Blogs

    The Bucs took a calculated risk on two injured players that were discounted in the NFL draft and it may pay off.

    LSU linebacker Kendell Beckwiith (51) fell to the third round after he tore his anterior cruciate ligament in a game against Florida Nov. 19.