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10 for 10: Bulls preseason observations

Saturday's two-hour scrimmage at the Morsani Complex marked the 10th day of the Bulls' preseason camp, which seems as fitting a time as any for 10 general observations of the Bulls at this point:

1. QB derby: Bench by a nose
Our opinion on the Bulls' QB competition fluctuates like Lady Gaga's wardrobe. In the wake of the scrimmage, we'd give the edge to Steven Bench. Granted, the senior's inconsistency triggers palpitations, but he seems to throw a crisper ball and possesses mobility in his own right. On Saturday, the offense just seemed sharper -- albeit not by much -- with Bench running things.

2. Nothing on the waiver wire
It would be fascinating to see what UCLA transfer Asiantii Woulard could do with consistent first- or second-team reps. The dude's long, athletic and seems to throw what Steve Spurrier refers to as "a very catchable ball." Alas, neither Woulard nor anyone in the program still knows when the NCAA will rule on his request for a hardship waiver. The Bulls have to get a third QB ready, and right now freshman Brett Kean is the guy.

3. Tailbacks in triplicate
All three backs -- Marlon Mack, D'Ernest Johnson and Darius Tice -- had solid scrimmage performances, which invariably will prompt fans to (A) credit the development of the offensive line, or (B) bemoan the run-stop effectiveness of the 4-2-5. S Jamie Byrd said when offenses go more conventional on the Bulls, they can easily revert to a 4-3 look.

4. A hand in the dirt
Senior Zack Bullock, a traditional linebacker in previous alignments, appears a front-runner for the hybrid rush end/outside linebacker spot opposite strong-side DE Eric Lee. You might even see classmate Tashon Whitehurst in that position while redshirt freshman Jimmy Bayes and junior Nigel Harris occupy the weakside linebacker spot in the 4-2-5.

5. A hitch in the 'hikes'?
Senior Brynjar Gudmundsson, arguably the most versatile offensive lineman in program history, is playing center for the first time, and it occasionally shows. Gudmundsson had a couple of high snaps Saturday and might let a snap or two get away from him early in the season, but he's clearly the Bulls' best option at that spot. Besides, he's a very solid interior run blocker.

6. Freshmen who could play right away
WR Chris Barr, CB Nate Ferguson, CB Ronnie Hoggins, TE Mitchell Wilcox, LB Danny Thomas, WR Jordan Reed

7. Redshirt freshmen who could play right away
Bayes, DE Vincent Jackson, WR Tyre McCants, CB Mazzi Wilkins, LB Juwuan Brown

8. Sure bets to start
Gudmundsson, Byrd, Mack, WR Rodney Adams, LG Thor Jozwiak, P Mattias Ciabatti, PK Emilio Nadelman, Lee, Bullock, MLB Auggie Sanchez, FS Tajee Fullwood, DT James Hamilton

9. Best players currently not eligible
Woulard, WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling

10. 10 final words
Offensive pace has increased. Offensive punch might be another matter.

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