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USF preseason countdown: Cue the kicking derby

Up to five place-kickers could be battling for the No. 1 job in USF's preseason camp
OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times 
USF kicker Jake Vivonetto (32) makes a field goal in the fourth quarter during the Bulls' spring game at Corbett Stadium in April. Vivonetto is among a handful of kickers vying for the starting job this preseason.
OCTAVIO JONES | Times USF kicker Jake Vivonetto (32) makes a field goal in the fourth quarter during the Bulls' spring game at Corbett Stadium in April. Vivonetto is among a handful of kickers vying for the starting job this preseason.
Published Jul. 30, 2018

The 22nd preseason in USF football history commences Friday. As a prelude of sorts, we're spending a few days examining various players, trends, issues and records to watch this season. Today: a look at the kicking competition that will ensue in camp.

If the season began today, the Bulls might go for two each time.

Okay, we're exaggerating. We think. If Charlie Strong gets nothing else out of the preseason, he must settle on a quarterback and kicker.

At this point, your guess as to the winner of those respective jobs is as good as ours. For now, let's focus on the latter.

Spoiled by steady legs (i.e. Maikon Bonani, Gramatica brothers, Marvin Kloss, Emilio Nadelman) for most of their existence, the Bulls suddenly find themselves inexperienced at a critical position. The place-kicking candidate pool comprises a handful of guys who never have proven themselves at the collegiate level.

Related: USF preseason countdown: Who will lead them?

Related: USF preseason countdown: Which records will fall in '18?

Walk-ons Marco Salani and Jake Vivonetto, and even new P Trent Schneider, shared reps in what politely could be described as an underwhelming spring. Since then, Strong has added Tennessee State transfer Coby Weiss and former USF goalkeeper Jake Stone.

Weiss, about whom we wrote upon his arrival, seems the most viable candidate at this point. Stone seems the most intriguing, based on his soccer background.

Whoever wins the job also will have to jell with a holder (perhaps walk-on QB Kyle Trina) and snapper. Freshman walk-on Ian Deneen, the son of a Marine who long-snapped at Winter Garden West Orange High, ultimately could secure that job.

Bottom line, the specialists have exactly a month to mesh.

Otherwise, title hopes become mush.

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