USF opens football practice with trip back in time

Published August 5 2016
Updated August 5 2016

TAMPA — Thursday morning's procession back in time spanned 20 years, and roughly 300 yards.

Beneath gray skies, USF's players trickled from their Selmon Center locker room and walked past their current practice facility before reaching the two fields used by their green-and-gold ancestors for the program's first practice in September 1996.

"They were like, 'Coach, where do you have us walking to?' " said coach Willie Taggart, who chose the original fields for Thursday's first preseason workout as a nod to history. "'Where we practicing at? We practicing in Wesley Chapel or something?'"

On a morning of intermittent showers, nostalgia was far more conspicuous than sunlight. Former All-America DE George Selvie, again residing in Tampa, showed up. Longtime team chaplain David "Rev" Lane sported the same hat he wore in '96.

"It's making them understand a lot of guys that helped build this program and a lot of guys that came before them, didn't have the things that they have now," Taggart said shortly after the 2 1/2-hour workout.

"We had an opportunity (Wednesday) night to show every single one of them those (original) guys practicing down here with Coach (Jim) Leavitt running with those guys. They weathered a whole year of just conditioning and they wouldn't play anybody (until 1997) and that's got to be the toughest thing ever. I said, 'You guys complain, what are we talking about around here?' "

KEAN NO. 2 … FOR NOW: For the fourth time in as many preseasons, Taggart has a quarterback derby on his hands. Only this time, it's for the backup job.

Taggart indicated redshirt freshman QB Brett Kean, who shared snaps Thursday morning with undisputed starter Quinton Flowers, emerged from spring drills as the No. 2 guy but will continue competing with UCLA transfer Asiantii Woulard.

Due to some class-schedule issues, Woulard practiced earlier in the morning with a group consisting primarily of rookies. "(Kean) hasn't cemented that," Taggart said.

"Nobody has that job, and those guys are going to compete every single day and make sure it's a no-brainer who it is. We're going to allow them to compete and tell each one of them if they want it, they're going to have to go out and get it."

Kean ended a 7-on-7 session with a TD strike of roughly 50 yards in heavy coverage to redshirt freshman TE Mitchell Wilcox, who ran mostly with the second team while sophomore TE Kano Dillon took first-team reps.

ODDS AND ENDS: Flowers, the reigning team MVP, was named Thursday to the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Watch List, meaning USF has been represented on 11 watch lists this offseason. … The Bulls hold their final public practices today and Saturday at 10 a.m. on their normal practice fields, and will engage in full pads in Monday's workout. … Four-star DE Tramal Ivy, who played the last two seasons at Butler (Kan.) Community College, could join the 105-player roster this month. … Transfers added to the roster include TE Adrian Palmore (Lakewood, Arizona Western CC), DB Shannon Smith (Armwood, Concordia University), TE KJ Miles (Armwood, Assumption College) and P Jonathan Hernandez (Bradenton Manatee, FSU).