Shoves, smack talk and general chippy behavior were prevalent for parts of Tuesday night's practice at the Morsani Complex, prompting Coach Willie Taggart to subdue the skirmishes -- but not the overall spirit -- at one point.
Toss in the fact the hostilities (primarily between offensive and defensive guys) transpired during the second of a two-a-day session, and the two-plus-hour workout -- heavy on seven-on-seven work -- might have represented the highlight of preseason camp to this point.
"That was probably our best practice of fall camp so far," MLB Auggie Sanchez said. "The defense probably led the majority of that period, but at the end the offense came back and capitalized and showed signs they can...be resilient."
WLB Jimmy Bayes said defensive coordinator Tom Allen noted eight takeaways by his unit during the practice, though the offense seemed to rally from a non-eventful Monday afternoon workout.
Sophomore QB Quinton Flowers found WR Tyre McCants over the middle for a short TD in goal-line work, and later hooked up near the left sideline with Lakewood alumnus Rodney Adams, who turned upfield for roughly a 50-yard TD. Flowers and QB Steven Bench both scored on zone-read keepers up the middle in goal-line work.
"The part where I say (the chippy stuff) is good, it's a lot of energy. During the camps where it's hot...you want that energy," Bayes said. "But it's bad because we don't want to start anything with our own teammates. We want to save that for Saturdays. Plus, it costs penalties."
Other Tuesday night highlights:
* The defense sniffed out an end-around, tackling walk-on WR Chase Whitehead in the backfield.
* Winter Park alumnus Cameron Gergley, a redshirt freshman defensive back, had an apparent scoop-and-score negated by a flag.
* Adams hauled in a handful of passes in traffic, including two on apparent slant routes.
* Tampa Bay Tech alumnus Tajee Fullwood, who had a pick-six during Monday's 11-on-11 scrimmage, intercepted a Bench pass. Hassan Childs snagged another Bench pass deflected near the goal line.
* Former Jesuit High standout Vincent Jackson, logging considerable reps at defensive end, had a sack (or as close to a sack as one can get in shorts, helmets and shoulder pads in seven-on-seven work).
BIGGER BAYES: Bayes, a redshirt freshman who arrived last summer from Immokalee High a shade less than 200 pounds, now is carrying 230. A Rivals.com four-star recruit in high school, he got extensive reps Tuesday as the cover 'backer in the Allen's 4-2-5.
"Last year it was a struggle, I got tired easily," Bayes said. "But again, I give a lot of credit to my strength and conditioning staff. They gave me a plan and I followed it, and I ended up pretty well."
INJURY UPDATE: OL Reilly Gibbons (knee) suited up and observed his unit's drills but didn't participate. ... Rover Nate Godwin (hamstring) spent the second consecutive day rehabbing to the side. ... Others rehabbing Tuesday included freshman S Malik Dixon (whose left forearm is in a cast), and freshman LB Danny Thomas.
ODDS AND ENDS: Former Bulls and Hillsborough High star Lindsey Lamar, who spent the last two years with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the CFL, has joined USF as a graduate assistant. ... New PK Emilio Nadelman's first PAT of the night hit the right upright, but the uprights on USF's practice field are purposely narrower. ... The Bulls have only one practice Wednesday, starting at 2:30. It's open to the public.
AUDIBLE: "We won tonight. We won today for sure. But it's definitely more competitive than it has been in the past, and our offense is definitely stepping up. This is the best I've seen our offense since I got here." -- Sanchez, assessing the day's seven-on-seven work