TAMPA — USF opens spring football Wednesday for the first time under coach Willie Taggart, and three players, including WR Terrence Mitchell, have been suspended indefinitely for unspecified reasons.
"They could be back. They have to do something, do what it takes to get back out there," Taggart said of Mitchell, WR Chris Dunkley and RB Bradley Battles. "They're not just going to get on this team. You don't just get on this team any kind of way. They have to make sure they're doing their part to be on this football team."
Mitchell, a Hillsborough High graduate, was USF's No. 2 receiver last season, catching 31 passes for 414 yards and a touchdown; he was a freshman All-America in 2010 as a punt returner. His role was already changing, as Taggart said that before his suspension, coaches had decided to move him to defensive back, the position he was best known for at Hillsborough.
Dunkley, a transfer from Florida, has been suspended from the team since September, when he was arrested on a domestic battery violence charge. He has since entered into a pre-trial intervention program, which required six months of counseling and 12 months of supervision without additional legal problems. Battles has been suspended from games in each of the past two seasons; he has totaled 7 rushing yards in that time.
Also, sophomore DE Edsel Caprice of Cape Coral, who had two tackles on special teams last fall, is no longer with the team. His mother, Nicky, said Monday that he remains in school at USF but his college football career might be over.
SALARIES: Defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan will be the highest-paid of Taggart's nine assistants, earning $350,000, according to documents released to the Times from a public-records request Monday. Bresnahan, a former NFL coordinator with the Bengals and Raiders, got a two-year contract, the only assistant to do so.
Offensive coordinator Walt Wells and defensive backs coach Ron Cooper will earn $210,000 each, while linebackers coach Raymond Woodie will make $200,000. Defensive line coach Eric Mathies will earn $165,000, while quarterbacks coach Nick Sheridan will make $160,000.
Receivers coach David Reaves will earn $150,000, newly hired running backs coach Telly Lockette will earn $140,000, and special-teams coordinator Stu Holt, recently promoted from director of player personnel, will earn $130,000.
SATURDAY OPEN: Saturday's practice, the Bulls' first in pads, will be open to the public, with fans invited to watch drills that start at 2:30 p.m. and are scheduled to run until 5 p.m.