TAMPA — It's never easy for Skip Holtz to feel particularly good about an intrasquad scrimmage, knowing every big play comes at the expense of his players on the other side of the ball.
So the glass half-full coach will point to USF's offense piling up 10 touchdowns and 550 passing yards over 148 plays in the second scrimmage of spring drills Saturday night at Corbett Soccer Stadium. The glass half-empty perspective knows it was USF's defense giving up those 10 scores.
"Every time you throw a touchdown pass, you get excited. 'Ooh, nice play.' Then you say, 'Who was the safety?' That was our defense, too," said Holtz, whose team will hold a final scrimmage next Saturday night at Raymond James Stadium.
All three quarterbacks threw for more than 150 yards. Senior starter B.J. Daniels hit Andre Davis for 59 yards to the 1 on his first play, and the two connected again on a 35-yard touchdown on the scrimmage's final play with plenty of scoring in between.
"It was good for us to move the ball down the field," said Daniels, who finished 18-of-26 for 224 yards. "We're still working on trying to be consistent with our drives.
"But all in all, I feel like it was a good day."
Junior Bobby Eveld looked to be the sharper of the backup quarterbacks. He opened 8-for-8 for 100 yards with touchdowns to Derrick Hopkins and Terrence Mitchell and finished 12-of-16 for 157 yards and three scores.
After opening 3-of-12 for 9 yards, redshirt freshman Matt Floyd found his rhythm, throwing late touchdowns to Davis and TE Mike McFarland and finishing 17-of-30 for 169 yards.
"We can't allow people to throw the ball over our heads," Holtz said.
"We've got to eliminate the big plays."
OTHER HIGHLIGHTS: Walk-on TE Jake Carlton had a 31-yard catch across the middle, and walk-on WR Jordan Duval had catches of 16 and 32 yards. … Lindsey Lamar, shifting back to running back after two years at receiver, scored on a 9-yard run. … McFarland used his 6-foot-5 frame for a jump-ball touchdown from Floyd. Fellow tight ends Evan Landi and Tye Turner also caught scoring passes across the middle.
DEFENSE: Junior DE Ryne Giddins was a force on the pass rush, knocking Eveld's helmet off on the only interception of the game, by CB Kayvon Webster. Giddins' pressure of Daniels led to a safety, and he had two other plays that would have been sacks but were whistled dead as he got to Daniels, who wore a noncontact jersey.
THIS AND THAT: Holtz brought in a Big East officiating crew for the scrimmage but was unhappy with the number of penalties, 13 on the defense alone, by his count. … Holtz said senior backup DE Anthony Hill tore the ACL in his left knee during practice last week and will require surgery. It's unknown if he will play during the upcoming season.
Greg Auman can be reached at email@example.com. View his blog at blogs.tampabay.com/usf.