1. USF Bulls

Eyes in the sky: Woodie to remain in box

Turns out, the most glaring alteration to the "Bull Shark" defense is something that may have gone unnoticed by many Bulls fans who attended Saturday's season opener.

First-year coordinator Raymond Woodie is coaching from the box, and will continue to. In Saturday's 56-20 romp of Towson, he became the first of Willie Taggart's three defensive coordinators to work from above.

"You see everything that's going on," Woodie said after Wednesday's practice. "I've been up in the box before and I just think you can see the whole picture."

USF's three other defensive coaches -- John Jancek (safeties), Alonzo Hampton (cornerbacks) and Eric Mathies (line) -- remain on the sideline. The Bulls had a couple of hiccups in pass coverage Saturday, but held Towson to 127 rushing yards and collected four takeaways, one more than their per-game goal.

"I've done both, being on the field in comparison to being in the box," Woodie said. "But I just think being in the box, you can see the whole schematics of things and be able to write, make adjustments and stuff like that. In my opinion, I think it's a lot easier."

WORK IN PROGRESS? Don't bank on the offensive line pulling off an encore to 2015, when the same first-team quintet started all 13 games. In fact, competition remains at right tackle, position coach Darren Hiller said.

Redshirt freshman Marcus Norman started as expected, but classmate Billy Atterbury also logged some snaps with the first team by design. Hiller also suggested redshirt freshman Michael Galati ultimately could start at center due to the versatility of veteran Cameron Ruff, who started Saturday but also can play guard.

"They both (Norman and Atterbury) did good from an assignment standpoint," Hiller said. "Both of them (graded) low in technique and both of them finished at about the same; I think they were within 2 percent of one another on their finish grade. To me, that's kind of an open competition right now. Same with the center position."

Senior LT Kofi Amichia graded best among the group against Towson, followed closely by senior RG Dominique Threatt, Hiller said.

ODDS AND ENDS: TB Marlon Mack, going through the concussion protocol, practiced Tuesday in a non-contact jersey. ... TB Darius Tice said he had no idea if his 43-yard TD "catch" against Towson -- his first scoring reception as a Bull -- was actually a backward pass from Quinton Flowers. "In practice, it's a catch," Tice said. "But if it was a rush, I would've taken those too. I really need those." ... Hiller said Northern Illinois -- this week's opponent -- will operate mainly out of a four-man front, but also will show some 3-4 and even a double-eagle look, where linemen are aligned directly over both guards and the center. "They have a new defensive coordinator (Kevin Kane), so obviously we only have one game to really go on," Hiller said. "So it will be interesting and we've just got to be able to adjust."