TAMPA — As new overseer of USF's most scrutinized (and vilified) position, offensive coordinator/line coach Paul Wulff is learning a thing or two about taking heat. Or more specifically, humidity.
"I didn't realize you could get showers throughout practice on your body naturally," said the California native, who never had held a coaching job east of the Pacific time zone. "I can't stand here and say I love the humidity; I don't think anybody does. But I feel a heck of a lot better now than I did my first few months here."
Florida mugginess, however, isn't the only thing that has taken Wulff aback three days into preseason camp. The physicality of his beefed-up line — a beleaguered unit that contributed greatly to USF's offensive anemia in 2013 — has surprised him.
"They're smart guys; I've been really impressed," he said. "And their commitment; they want to be good. They work hard, they get along. I've been really impressed."
Wulff, Washington State's former head coach, inherits essentially the same lineup from last season — albeit roughly 13 pounds heavier across the board. Additionally, junior Thor Jozwiak, who missed all of last season with a heart condition, is back at full strength and appears entrenched at left guard.
If the Bulls played today, the starting five likely would be LT Darrell Williams, Jozwiak, C Austin Reiter, RG Quinterrius Eatmon and RT Brynjar Gudmundsson. Wulff slid Eatmon (a former tackle) inside and Gudmundsson out from his guard spot: "It just felt like it suited their skill sets a little bit better."
WHITE STANDS OUT: Sophomore QB Mike White, trying to retain the starting job he held at the end of 2013, had an especially sharp practice Wednesday. "I thought Mike was really locked in," coach Willie Taggart said. "From one-on-one all the way through practice, I thought he was really locked in today and he came out on a mission."
PADS ALERT: For the first time, the Bulls will practice in shoulder pads — and as a full team — today. The workout, open to the public, begins at 8:30 a.m.
UF feels special
GAINESVILLE — The early feel around Florida's fall camp is that the new offense has the potential to be something special.
TE Jake McGee, a transfer from Virginia, said the players are focused and intent on having excellent mastery of the system for the Aug. 30 season opener. "There's a lot of good players in the locker room," he said. "I'm excited for the work to continue with pads (starting Wednesday night), and guys getting as good as they can. There's a lot of good players in the locker room that can make plays this season."
The new up-tempo offense has also been a challenge for the defense. "It's tough, sophomore CB Vernon Hargreaves said. "They rotate in the receivers and they like to take shots. So as a defensive back we're running all the way down the field and you have to come back to fresh legs. So it's tough at practice, but it's also good for us as a defense. We're getting in shape. I'm impressed by the offense as well."
OPEN UP: Fans can get their first glimpse of the offense at the first of eight open practices tonight, beginning at 7:40.
Antonya English, Times staff writer
FSU puts on pads
TALLAHASSEE — Florida State donned shoulder pads for the first time in its third practice. "It was more real football," coach Jimbo Fisher said. "It was their first day out here in pads and it will get better. I saw a lot of good things. A lot of banging and clanging and guys just being physical."