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Full circle: TE Landi taking snaps as backup QB

With USF down to a single healthy scholarship quarterback after injuries to B.J. Daniels and Bobby Eveld, the Bulls are giving tight end Evan Landi reps as an emergency backup quarterback, should anything happen to new starter Matt Floyd in the final two games.

Landi came to USF as a quarterback, but has gotten all his playing time at receiver and tight end -- he's been sidelined with an ankle injury, but ran sprints with the team Sunday night in his return to practice and said he'll be healthy for Friday's game at Cincinnati.

Eveld's injury is a third-degree separation of his left (non-throwing) shoulder, an injury that typically has a three-month timetable for a full recovery, allowing him to return healthy for the start of spring drills. His one quarter of playing uses up a year of eligibility, as players cannot take a medical redshirt once they've taken a snap in the second half of a season.

DEEP CONCERNS: Holtz remained specifically upset about the number of uncontested deep passes Miami was able to complete, including touchdowns of 87 and 65 yards, against a USF defense schemed to avoid such a problem.

"I can handle a (well-covered spectacular catch), but the one that discourages me, the one that frustrates me, the one I don't think we can tolerate as coaches or players, are the ones where they throw the ball and there's nobody there," Holtz said. "There's no reason for that when you call three-deep zone for a guy not to be there. They threw a touchdown pass (when) we were in two-deep zone, meaning two guys are supposed to be deep as the deepest (receiver). When one of the long touchdowns crossed the end zone, the deep safety hadn't crossed the 30-yard line yet. I don't think there's any excuse for that."

Holtz said the pass defense is the one area of the team that has been a weakness throughout a struggling season for the Bulls.

"That's probably the one thing that has consistently not been playing to the level that we need to play at to be competitive," Holtz said. "I think it's a shame B.J. Daniels leads the team down the field (three) times and scores with under 2 minutes to go, where he could be known as the quarterback that engineered the comeback drive, only to watch us lose it in the final minute, minute and a half of the game. I've talked about the problems with the pass defense, but I thought it went to a whole 'nother level Saturday."

THIS AND THAT: The mysterious start at receiver Saturday by walk-on WR Jordan Duval? Receivers coach Jerome Pathon explained that Terrence Mitchell suffered a shoulder stinger on the opening kickoff, and when he couldn't take the field momentarily, Duval was sent in his place. ... Holtz counted six drops from receivers in Saturday's loss, one less than a season high of seven in the loss to Temple. Those two games stand out against what has been an otherwise solid year for limiting dropped passes, he said. ... Holtz said USF didn't use its wildcat package Saturday because WR Victor Marc, who takes direct snaps in such a formation, dislocated a finger during the game. He still caught three passes and had another nine incompletions that were intended for him.