USF spring football practice starts today with 15 workouts over five weeks (none during spring break March 9-21). The spring game is April 2 at Raymond James Stadium, and the Green and Gold Bowl open scrimmage is April 9 on campus. Here are five goals for coach Skip Holtz and the program:
1. Find new big-play threats on offense. After just a cameo at receiver as a freshman, can cornerback Terrence Mitchell learn the position enough to get on the two-deep depth chart? Can redshirt freshman Deonte Welch pass more experienced receivers? Can hybrid receiver/tight ends Isaac Virgin and Andreas Shields establish themselves as consistent targets downfield? And can injured veterans A.J. Love and Sterling Griffin, both of who sat out last season, shine again?
2. Find three new starters on the offensive line. Center Sampson Genus and tackles Jake Sims and Jamar Bass are gone. Where does Danous Estenor fit in — at guard or center? Can freshman tackle Quinterrius Eatmon be a starter? Can Plant City's Mark Popek lock down one of the tackle jobs? And can an unproven group of reserves earn the coaches' confidence?
3. Identify a No. 3 quarterback behind B.J. Daniels and Bobby Eveld. Holtz wants to see what Jamius Gunsby, who redshirted in the fall, and newcomer Matt Floyd, who arrived in January, can do. Is Gunsby, also a high school basketball star with a 6-foot-4, 235-pound frame, athletic enough to help at another position? Can any of the young quarterbacks challenge Daniels after his solid bowl victory against Clemson?
4. Decide what to do at strongside linebacker. The Bulls can either move one of their stellar middle linebackers, Sam Barrington and Mike Lanaris, to the outside, or hand the keys to a newcomer. Junior Mike Jeune, a high school teammate of Barrington's, arrived in January from junior college, and there's redshirt freshman Reshard Cliett as well as newcomer Antoine Pozniak, who arrived in January. Add in sophomore DeDe Lattimore at weakside, and linebacker might be the Bulls' strongest position in the fall.
5. Get the most out of four talented safeties. The deepest position might be safety with veteran starters in senior Jerrell Young and junior Jon Lejiste as well as two sophomores who made impressive debuts in the fall, Mark Joyce and JaQuez Jenkins. The Bulls don't have nearly the same depth at cornerback behind starters Quenton Washington and Kayvon Webster.