TAMPA — It's only two days into fall practice, but new USF coach Skip Holtz is already impressed with what he has seen from his freshmen, starting with CB Terrence Mitchell out of Hillsborough High.
"Doing great. Does a lot of things instinctively … he's picked the defense up extremely fast," Holtz said after Friday's practice. "He has a lot of football knowledge. … He has a lot of feel. He's doing some really instinctive things for a freshman out here. We know he's talented and can run and jump, but it's just where's he going to be mentally? He's definitely got a chance to get in this mix and compete for a spot in the two-deep. He's probably the lead guy right now as having a chance to contribute on this football team out of the freshmen."
Coaches have had high praise for freshman WR Deonte Welch, and Holtz said safeties Mark Joyce and Reshard Cliett are competing for a chance to play in the fall as well. With returning depth, Holtz said he expects all of his mammoth freshman offensive linemen — Jake Kaufman, Quinterrious Eatmon and Tony Kibler, all about 340 pounds — to redshirt this season.
He will wait until the team's first scrimmage (Aug. 14) before making decisions on which freshmen will play in the fall.
"I think going through the first 10 days … will give us a really good feel on whether or not those guys are going to be able to help us this year," Holtz said.
DECISION DAY: Much more could be determined in that first scrimmage, as Holtz said he will decide then if his two freshman quarterbacks, Jamius Gunsby and walk-on Bobby Eveld out of Jesuit, have shown enough to allow him to keep WR Evan Landi at receiver full time.
"Evan's doing great things at receiver. He looks good … I'd hate to take him away from that position, but if we need to in a part-time role, we will," Holtz said.
THIS AND THAT: Holtz said sixth-year senior WR Colby Erskin, recovering from knee surgery in the fall, looks "really good" and hasn't any problems while practicing with a brace on his left knee. … LB Mike Lanaris is getting a look as a potential No. 2 long snapper, with Mike Walsh out of Plant established as the starter. … Holtz has been pleased with his top options at punter — sophomore Justin Brockhaus-Kann and true freshman Chris Veron.