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  1. USF Bulls

Solid effort, shaky hands at Wednesday practice

In the wake of a spirited Tuesday night practice that Coach Willie Taggart called the best of preseason camp, the Bulls struggled to hold onto receptions and interceptions in a two-hour workout Wednesday afternoon.

Taggart called the full-pad session "good" but not great. Extensive 11-on-11 periods were high on spread-option runs and underneath check-down passes to backs, mostly by design. The handful of downfield throws provided mixed results.

In a clear blown coverage, sophomore Quinton Flowers over-shot isolated redshirt freshman Tyre McCants on a would-be 30-yard TD pass over the middle. Even the defense, which has a stated goal of five takeaways per practice, failed to meet its requirement.

"There were too many dropped balls today, just a lack of focus and putting the ball on the ground," Taggart said. "And when I say dropped balls, both sides."

Among the highlights: transfer QB Asiantii Woulard finding N.C. State transfer Marquez Valdes-Scantling on a textbook 20-yard corner route in heavy coverage. Neither is currently eligible, though Woulard has applied for a hardship waiver from the NCAA.

"I thought the effort was there and that was great to see," Taggart said. "There hasn't been any lack of effort throughout training camp, but I think that's just our guys understanding and learning how to practice now."

MORE OPEN PRACTICES: The Bulls' series of open practices, originally set to conclude Wednesday, now will extend to Saturday, the school announced. Thursday's practice at the Morsani Complex begins at 6:30 p.m., with Friday's starting at 2 p.m. and Saturday's at 9:40 a.m. The Saturday workout should be scrimmage-heavy.

JACKSON SURGING: Count redshirt freshman DE Vincent Jackson, a former four-star recruit from Jesuit High, among those emerging defensively. Jackson continues getting steady reps with the second-team defensive line alongside another local, former Robinson High DT Bruce Hector.

Currently, the Bulls' first-team front features DT Deadrin Senat, DE Zack Bullock, DT James Hamilton and DE Eric Lee.

"I thought today (Jackson) had a big-time day. He was all over the field," Taggart said.

"You could tell that he's really understanding what they're doing defensively because he's not getting himself out of position, where earlier he'd get himself out of position a lot and you were able to get the ball around him. Now he's making some reads hard for our quarterbacks sometimes, and that's a good thing for us."

ODDS AND ENDS: LB Nick Holman, forced to take a redshirt in 2014 following shoulder surgery, wore a protective boot on his right foot Wednesday. Taggart didn't specify the injury, but said he expects Holman to be fine. ... S Nate Godwin (hamstring) and OL Reilly Gibbons (knee) continued rehab work on the side. ... Wednesday marked the first time in three days Tampa Bay Tech alumnus Tajee Fullwood -- working with the first team at free safety -- failed to force or get a turnover. "He's having an unbelievable training camp," Taggart said.

AUDIBLE: "Back in Pop Warner and high school, he was real skinny. We used to call him 'Bones.' ... But now he's looking like a real linebacker." -- RB D'Ernest Johnson on boyhood friend and Bulls LB Jimmy Bayes, now playing at roughly 230 pounds.

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