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Analyzing the 2012 USF Bulls

COACH: Skip Holtz (85-62 overall, 13-12 USF)

2011 record: 5-7 (1-6 Big East)

Website: gousfbulls.com

Quarterbacks

Fourth-year starter B.J. Daniels is a top candidate for Big East player of the year, and coaches like his continued maturation and ability to limit his mistakes. The backup battle is intriguing — if redshirt freshman Matt Floyd gets the nod, junior Bobby Eveld is likely to redshirt, setting up a competition in 2013 with top-rated incoming freshman Asiantii Woulard.

Running backs

Senior Demetris Murray has 500-plus yards in each of the past two seasons and has a chance to be the workhorse, and other backs have big-play potential, such as junior Marcus Shaw and senior Lindsey Lamar. The Bulls led the Big East in rushing in 2011 and are in position to do it again.

Receivers/tight ends

Crazy depth at WR, with sophomore Andre Davis and junior Sterling Griffin leading a deep, talented group of playmakers. Speedy Terrence Mitchell returns from injury, and watch two more newcomers: Florida transfer Chris Dunkley and 6-5 freshman D'vario Montgomery. Healthy, it's USF's most improved position. Three senior TEs lead the way in Evan Landi, Andreas Shields and Jeff Hawkins, but the stars might be 6-5 sophomore Mike McFarland (another Florida transfer) and touted freshman Sean Price of Ocala, who has good hands and is tough to bring down.

Offensive line

It looks as if three sophomores will start — LT Darrell Williams, C Austin Reiter and RT Quinterrius Eatmon, with leadership from Gs Mark Popek and Danous Estenor. The depth here is much improved, so expect more substitutions than last year, when starters rarely had snaps off.

Defensive line

The two standouts are junior DE Ryne Giddins and senior DT Cory Grissom, though the latter is recovering from a broken ankle sustained in the spring. Can DT Elkino Watson build on a promising freshman year? The outside pass rush took a hit when Notre Dame transfer Aaron Lynch was denied an NCAA hardship waiver and can't play this fall.

Linebackers

USF's most experienced position, with senior Sam Barrington and junior DeDe Lattimore as third-year starters, along with senior Mike Lanaris and promising sophomore Reshard Cliett. With three seniors in the top six, cultivating young players such as Zack Bullock and Tashon Whitehurst is a must for 2013.

Defensive backs

There's great depth at safety in Mark Joyce, JaQuez Jenkins and Jon Lejiste, but not as much at corner, where Kayvon Webster is a star. The other side remains a question mark. The Bulls need senior George Baker to become trustworthy, or redshirt freshman Kenneth Durden to show poise beyond his youth.

Special teams

Senior K Maikon Bonani already has many USF kicking records, and freshman walk-on Mattias Ciabatti has the edge for the punting job. Expect better play on returns, with Terrence Mitchell healthy on punts and Lindsey Lamar seeking return to his 2010 Big East Special Teams Player of the Year form on kickoffs.

Greg Auman, Times staff writer

Who: UT-Chattanooga

Where: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa

When: 7 p.m.

TV: None

Radio: 98.7-FM

Who: Nevada

Where: Mackay Stadium, Reno, Nev.

When: 3:30 p.m.

TV: CBSN

Radio: 98.7-FM

Who: Rutgers

Where: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa

When: 7:30 p.m.

TV: ESPN

Radio: 98.7-FM

Who: Ball St.

Where: Scheumann Stadium, Muncie, Ind.

When: 4:30 p.m.

TV: Big East

Radio: 98.7-FM

Who: FSU

Where: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa

When: TBA

TV: TBA

Radio: 98.7-FM

Who: Temple

Where: Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia

When: TBA

TV: TBA

Radio: 98.7-FM

Who: Louisville

Where: Papa John's Cardinal Stadium, Louisville, Ky.

When: TBA

TV: TBA

Radio: 98.7-FM

Who: Syracuse

Where: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa

When: TBA

TV: TBA

Radio: 98.7-FM

Who: UConn

Where: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa

When: TBA

TV: TBA

Radio: 98.7-FM

Who: Miami

Where: Sun Life Stadium, Miami

When: TBA

TV: TBA

Radio: 98.7-FM

Who: Cincinnati

Where: Nippert Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio

When: TBA

TV: TBA

Radio: 98.7-FM

Who: Pitt

Where: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa

When: TBA

TV: TBA

Radio: 98.7-FM

Analyzing the 2012 USF Bulls 08/24/12 [Last modified: Friday, August 24, 2012 5:06pm]
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