TAMPA — Demetris Murray hasn't been a team's primary ballcarrier since high school, but the USF senior is excited about that possibility as the Bulls' most experienced running back entering the 2012 season.
"I'm excited and eager to just really put it all on the line … and to win the Big East," Murray said Sunday. "I think I've really matured from last year to this year, really tried to understand more of the smaller things in the offense, every aspect of the offense rather than just one or two."
Murray has rushed for just more than 500 yards in each of the past two seasons, and had a team-high eight rushing touchdowns in 2011. He also excels in catching passes; he had 18 last season, the most by a USF running back since Ben Williams in 2007. After Darrell Scott left after his junior year to enter the NFL draft, Murray had an opportunity to take a larger role.
The Bulls also have converted WR Lindsey Lamar in the backfield, as well as less proven backs like Marcus Shaw, Bradley Battles and junior college transfer Mike Pierre. Murray sees an opportunity for leadership on and off the field, something he considers a strength for a team with a deep senior class.
"It seems like this offseason was a lot more important to guys than it was in previous years," Murray said. "When you have seniors, you have maturity and guys who have been in the fire. … Of course you want to go out with a bang. Who doesn't their senior year? But we're going to take it one day at a time and focus on the task at hand."
RAINED OUT: USF twice took the field Monday trying to get in its first practice of the fall, but lightning and heavy rains forced the Bulls to cancel. They'll go this morning instead, getting one practice in before the team goes to Vero Beach on Wednesday for 11 days of training at the former Dodgertown complex.
Athletic director Doug Woolard has said an indoor practice fieldhouse for the Bulls is on the radar as the next facility upgrade, though such a building would likely cost $12 million to $14 million. Bulls coach Skip Holtz referenced that on Twitter on Monday night, thanking the weather crew from WFLA for a weather update and saying his staff would be using their forecasts regularly "until the indoor is built."
WATCH LIST: B.J. Daniels is one of 29 QBs on the preseason watch list for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm award, joining Florida State's EJ Manuel as the only players from Florida schools on the list. Daniels, on pace to become the Big East's career total offense leader, is also on the watch list for the Davey O'Brien Award.
THIS AND THAT: Reserve DB Spencer Boyd, who was suspended at the end of last season and had tried to rejoin the team as a walk-on, said Monday he's transferring to Division II Shepherd University in West Virginia. … USF will hold its Fan Fest event at Raymond James Stadium at 2 p.m. on Aug. 19, the day after the team has an open scrimmage in Vero Beach on its final day there.