TAMPA — Now that they've transformed their physiques, the Bulls are trying to do the same with their formations. At least on defense.
If spring drills and the first two days of preseason camp are any sign, USF will intersperse at least some 3-4 looks with their conventional four-man front. During Tuesday's 11-on-11 work, defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan's unit frequently nudged two outside linebackers to the edges, giving the appearance of a five-man front.
The switch makes sense, based on attrition. USF lost its top four defensive ends from 2013.
"I love it," MLB Auggie Sanchez said. "The traditional 4-3 is kind of basic; offenses can plan for you. But when you put this 3-4 in, we do a lot of slanting, either the (outside linebacker's) coming or the (strong side's) coming, and you can just confuse them with a bunch of disguises."
OFF THE SHELF: Aside from some post-practice soreness, senior ILB Hans Louis said his surgically repaired right knee is at full strength. Louis recorded 19 tackles in a backup role last season before tearing his ACL on a kickoff at UCF.
"I was getting double-teamed the whole game and they finally caught me," said Louis, who also suffered cartilage damage on the play. "The force of both of them actually forced my knee to bend all the way inside, and I heard like, three pops and I just knew it was torn."
Linebackers coach Raymond Woodie indicated that Louis, who has earned his communications degree, should contend for a spot in USF's rotation.
"In the beginning, when he had his surgery, they have to progress to a certain level and all he could do was go straight," Woodie said. "But now you can see some movement laterally as well."
Miami: DLs, DBs looking deep
MIAMI — Hurricanes defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio feels the best he ever has about depth on the defensive line and in the secondary.
"Last year I don't think we had a stretch where we had more than three healthy safeties available," D'Onofrio said. "Now I'm looking at six guys and I'm no longer forced to play two of the young ones.
"We have some options at that nose tackle position between Earl (Moore), Calvin (Heurtelou) who was here in the spring, (freshman) Cortel (Jenkins) and (JC signee) Mike Wyche. The competition is really going to make everybody better."
Linebacker is another story. The dismissals of Alex Figueroa and JaWand Blue last month have made developing depth there a top priority.
"I felt like we had seven guys coming out of the spring," he said. "Now we've got to go back and find No. 6, 7, and 8. That's going to be my focus."