Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

USF players eager as work begins for new coaching staff

USF coach Skip Holtz says he is encouraged by the players’ attitudes. Here he talks with the special teams at his first practice, which he called a “breath of fresh air.”


USF coach Skip Holtz says he is encouraged by the players’ attitudes. Here he talks with the special teams at his first practice, which he called a “breath of fresh air.”

TAMPA — The new look for B.J. Daniels stands out from his Bulls teammates, a bright red No. 7 jersey with white letters, sending a clear message to defensive players trying to impress new coaches this spring: Do not hit me.

As the Bulls opened spring practice Tuesday afternoon, Skip Holtz is working to implement a new offense, and Daniels should be able to do just about everything but take a hit as he recovers from surgery on his nonthrowing shoulder. It'll be a spring of mental preparation, but an important one as Daniels gets ready for his second season as USF's starting quarterback.

"It's (tough), especially in my position because I have to know what everyone's doing, but it seems like we're picking it up pretty well," Daniels said. "I'm the no-contact guy, but it's just a jersey."

Daniels and his teammates are putting in extra time in the film room, learning Todd Fitch's new offense and the terminology that comes with it.

"It's like learning a second language but I'm very pleased with their intensity, with what their base knowledge was, across the board," Fitch said. "There are a million things to clean up, a million things we've got to get better at, but I was pleased with the retention of the first day's installation. Right now the attitude's great, but it's Day One. We want to challenge them and see where they're at."

The Bulls had just two quarterbacks in uniform Tuesday — Daniels and freshman walk-on Ryan Eppes of Largo — but two other walk-ons, including Eric Johnson of Florida Christian Institute in Fort Myers, are hoping to join the team this week. The team is committed to keeping sophomore Evan Landi at receiver. He likes his future catching passes instead of throwing them.

"I'm a receiver now. I've made a full-time switch," Landi said. "If need be this spring, I'll help the team out (at QB) if they need me, but I took a real liking to receiver last year."

Holtz has been waiting for his first practice for two months, the first real step toward leading his team into games in September.

"Just to get on the grass, to be on the field with these guys, it's been a long time coming," said Holtz, a pencil poking out of one side of his USF cap. "This was a breath of fresh air, to get out here and see where we are a little bit as a football team. I'm encouraged with their attitudes, the way they're working, but we still have a long way to go, too."

THIS AND THAT: Two players were missing from practice — running back Jamar Taylor, who had an academic commitment, and defensive end David Bedford, expected to be back with the team soon, according to assistant Kevin Patrick. … Starting outside linebacker Sabbath Joseph had what looked like a cast on his left hand, but said it was only a bruise. … Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, projected as a first-round pick in next month's NFL draft, was working out during USF's practice Tuesday, preparing for Pro Day for scouts in two weeks.

Greg Auman can be reached at and at (813) 226-3346. Check out his blog at and follow him at

USF players eager as work begins for new coaching staff 03/16/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 16, 2010 11:11pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Late Holy Names swimmer Cailin Cannella was a fighter until the end

    Swimming Preps

    At swim meets, Cailin Cannella would race side-by-side with her breastroke competitors, their heads bobbing in near unison.

    Holy Names swimmer Cailin Cannella, here at age 13, still was practicing last year after finding out she had osteosarcoma (bone cancer). [Times 2016]
  2. Gators roundtable: Was that really a Hail Mary?


    Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks' last-second heave beat Tennessee Saturday in Gainesville, but was it a Hail Mary, typically a pass made in desperation with little chance of success? The Times' college football coveage team weighs in:


    Feleipe Franks #13 of the Florida Gators celebrates with his teammates after he threw a 63-yard pass at the end of the game to defeat the Tennessee Volunteers 26-20 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on September 16, 2017 in Gainesville, Florida.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
  3. Mikhail Sergachev to debut for Lightning tonight


    For touted prospect Mikhail Sergachev, his audition to make the Lightning takes another big step tonight in his exhibition debut in Carolina.

    Touted prospect Mikhail Sergachev will make his exhibition debut tonight in Carolina.
  4. Commitment to change already evident for Wesley Chapel


    WESLEY CHAPEL — One stands 6 feet 9, holds numerous college offers and has already verbally committed to play at Florida State. The other goes about a foot shorter and could stand to put on a few pounds.

    Wesley Chapel's Chaz Neal (60) pumps his team up before a football game against Land O' Lakes in Wesley Chapel, Fla., on Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017.
  5. Rick and Tom podcast: Annoyance with the Cubs fans at Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tom Jones talks about how he shares Chris Archer's annoyance with all of the Cubs fans at Tropicana Field for Joe Maddon's return in the latest edition of our Rick and Tom podcast.

    "W" flags fly in the stands after the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Rays Tuesday at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]