Friday, May 25, 2018
Colleges

USF Bulls' cornerback spots among best position battles as camp opens

TAMPA — Players officially report today for coach Skip Holtz's third season at USF, and while his football team doesn't have many starting jobs unclaimed, the biggest position battle is for the second cornerback job opposite senior Kayvon Webster.

"(It's) definitely one that's up in the air," Holtz said this week at the Big East's media day in Rhode Island. "I feel good about it, because we've got like six guys fighting for it that are good enough to play."

Junior Fidel Montgomery, who joined the Bulls in January, might be the player to beat, though defensive backs coach Rick Smith said he was impressed in spring by senior George Baker, who hasn't played consistently enough in game situations to earn the full trust of coaches. Another promising if unproven challenger is redshirt freshman Kenneth Durden.

Holtz's opening-week starter against I-AA Chattanooga is likely to be one of those three.

"I think there's a lot of talent there. It's just the unknown. That has not yet played out," said Holtz, who also wants to solidify the backup linebacker spots. "Other than that, I think we pretty much know who's where. There's still some competition battles going on, but it's (between) two really good players."

At left guard, junior Lawrence Martin, a January enrollee, will challenge senior Damien Edwards, who has played sparingly but came out of spring drills atop the depth chart.

The team reports today and will have two practices in shoulder pads Monday and Tuesday before leaving for Vero Beach, where it will spend 11 days training at the former Dodgertown practice complex. It will return for FanFest at 2 p.m. on Aug. 19 at Raymond James Stadium.

MOURNING A LOSS: Junior walk-on WR Jonny Sitton lost his older brother, U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Matthew Sitton, 26, who was killed last week while serving in Afghanistan. Holtz extended condolences Friday to the Sitton family and said Sitton — who played for the Bulls in 2010 and spent last season at NAIA Shorter University — can spend as much time as he needs with his family before reporting to camp.

ANOTHER OPTION: Webster said he enters camp as the team's No. 2 option on kick returns, a role he was held out of last season because of a lack of healthy cornerbacks. He had four kickoff returns in his first two seasons and said he'd like the chance to line up deep. Last year's primary returner, RB Lindsey Lamar, also is back.

"I'm definitely going to look into that," Webster said. "I don't mind playing special teams. I actually love special teams."

THIS AND THAT: Reserve CB Ricardo Dixon, limited by injuries the past two seasons, has transferred to I-AA Youngstown State, where he's reunited with former USF defensive coordinator Joe Tresey. His position coach there, USF alum Glenn Davis, was a graduate assistant with the Bulls last year. … Five players graduated Saturday, including two juniors, DT Luke Sager and G John McGhin, who got their degrees in three years. … Walk-on Jordan Duval, arrested last month on a felony grand theft charge and accused of stealing a fellow student's iPhone, was not listed on the fall roster released to the media Tuesday.

Greg Auman can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3346. View his blog at blogs.tampabay.com/usf. Follow him on Twitter at @GregAuman.

Comments
FSU starter Josh Ball faces Title IX suspension over dating violence accusation

FSU starter Josh Ball faces Title IX suspension over dating violence accusation

Florida State starting offensive tackle Josh Ball faces a university suspension after a Title IX investigation found him responsible for dating violence.The suspension came to light in a Facebook post Monday afternoon by Sandra Sellers, an FSU studen...
Published: 05/22/18
Willie Taggart will take more fourth-down chances than Jimbo Fisher. But how many more?

Willie Taggart will take more fourth-down chances than Jimbo Fisher. But how many more?

TAMPA — Florida State coach Willie Taggart fielded an interesting question near the end of his Q&A with fans during Sunday's booster stop at Armature Works.Are the Seminoles going to be going for it more on fourth down?"We will be goin...
Published: 05/21/18
Athlon: Florida Gators, FSU and Miami will all finish in top 20

Athlon: Florida Gators, FSU and Miami will all finish in top 20

One of the first big nuggets from preseason college football magazines is out: Athlon's top 25.The site considers its rankings a prediction of where teams will be at the end of the year, not the beginning.Alabama and Clemson are 1-2 (no shock). Miami...
Published: 05/21/18
Taggart delivers a bolt to area

Taggart delivers a bolt to area

TAMPA — After spending four years as USF’s football coach, Willie Taggart knows what to expect this time of year in the area, so it’s no surprise how he began a chat with reporters Sunday before a booster stop at Armature Works."Go Lightning," he sai...
Published: 05/20/18
Willie Taggart: ‘Pretty cool’ to be back in Tampa as FSU coach

Willie Taggart: ‘Pretty cool’ to be back in Tampa as FSU coach

TAMPA – After spending four years as USF's football coach, Willie Taggart knows what to expect this time of year in the area, so it's no surprise how he began a chat with reporters Sunday before a booster stop at Armature Works."Go Lightning," ...
Published: 05/20/18
ACC football announces early kickoff times, TV info for FSU, Miami games

ACC football announces early kickoff times, TV info for FSU, Miami games

The ACC has released some kickoff and TV information for the first three weeks of the season:Week 1 (previously announced)Miami vs. LSU (in Arlington, Texas): Sunday, Sept. 2, 7:30 p.m., ABCVirginia Tech at Florida State: Monday, Sept. 3, 8 p.m., ESP...
Published: 05/18/18
Why FSU playing Boise State in Jacksonville is a smart risk

Why FSU playing Boise State in Jacksonville is a smart risk

Old, unofficial news is expected to become old, official news today with a formal announcement that Florida State and Boise State are kicking off the 2019 season in Jacksonville.  A lot has changed since the schools announced the series (FSU pla...
Published: 05/16/18
FSU-Boise State to open 2019 season in Jacksonville

FSU-Boise State to open 2019 season in Jacksonville

What had been an open secret for months is now open and shut: Group of Five power Boise State will face FSU at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville in the teams' 2019 opener.A formal announcement is expected Wednesday, but the '19 schedule on Boise's offi...
Published: 05/15/18
RHP Mark Moclair’s versatility proves valuable to University of Tampa

RHP Mark Moclair’s versatility proves valuable to University of Tampa

TAMPA — He’s the accidental pitcher who can’t be pigeonholed into a defined role. He’s a well-spoken economics major who morphs into fire-breathing intensity on the mound. And he’s one of the biggest reasons why the University of Tampa Spartans are p...
Published: 05/15/18
Police: Florida Gators recruit Justin Watkins kicked female’s car, broke her phone

Police: Florida Gators recruit Justin Watkins kicked female’s car, broke her phone

One of the Florida Gators' top incoming recruits was released from jail early Wednesday after police allege he kicked a female's car and broke her phone after an argument.Justin Watkins — a four-star athlete from Clermont — and ...
Published: 05/10/18