USF’s Sterlin Gilbert: No timetable on naming a starting QB

The Bulls currently have five scholarship quarterbacks on their roster
Bulls coach Sterlin Gilbert and quarterbacks (left to right) Kyle Trina (a walk-on), Octavious Battle, Chris Oladokun, Jordan McCloud, Brett Kean and Blake Barnett. (JOEY KNIGHT | Times)
Bulls coach Sterlin Gilbert and quarterbacks (left to right) Kyle Trina (a walk-on), Octavious Battle, Chris Oladokun, Jordan McCloud, Brett Kean and Blake Barnett. (JOEY KNIGHT | Times)
Published Aug. 5, 2018

While making clear no decision on a starter is imminent, second-year Bulls offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert shed a couple of streaks of light on the Bulls ongoing quarterback derby.

The two freshmen — Georgia's Octavious Battle and Plant High alumnus Jordan McCloud — aren't really in the mix at this point, and 6-foot-5 transfer Blake Barnett has impressed coaches with his mobility.

"He's really athletic, that's the thing about Blake that has been a pleasant surprise when he got here in the summer," Gilbert told reporters after Sunday's practice, the Bulls' first in shoulder pads (and third in shorts).

"You see tape on these guys in high school, the little bit of college film that he had, and then you get him in person and realize he's that big. He's 218 pounds and he's very athletic with the ball in his hands. So the height deal doesn't really concern us at all."

Redshirt sophomore Chris Oladokun appeared to be running with the first group during Sunday's 11-on-11 session open to reporters, followed by redshirt junior Brett Kean and Barnett.

The most dazzling play of the open session was Hillsborough High alumnus Duran Bell's run up the gut for a touchdown of roughly 70 yards. A couple of plays before, Barnett tucked and dashed up the middle when his pocket collapsed.

"What we're gonna do is just continue to work and rotate those guys," Gilbert said. "We're nowhere close to making a decision on (a starter) and have not set a time frame on it. Just trying to…knock the rust back off, get back in the groove of things, and that's what we've been able to do over the last three days."

DEVELOPMENT PHASE: For the first time in recent memory (and perhaps ever), USF has five scholarship quarterbacks in camp, including Battle and McCloud. Problem is, the NCAA-imposed limitations on practice time make a five-man derby impractical.

"Right now, we're really just focused on Chris and Blake and Brett, and just continuing to develop (the rookies)," Gilbert said. "Those guys got reps today; I mean, they go through all our drills. You just know and understand with those (freshmen) that their time's gonna come, and right now it really doesn't happen to be it."

KICKING DERBY: Senior walk-on Jake Vivonetto finished 3-for-4, while Tennessee State transfer Coby Weiss went 2-for-4 on field-goal attempts from various distances at the end of practice. Vivonetto hit from what appeared to be distances of 27, 32 and 47 yards, but missed from 39. Weiss hit from 32 and 47, but missed from the other two distances.

ODDS AND ENDS: WR Tyre McCants said he's currently at 240 pounds. If McCants played linebacker, he'd be the second-biggest on the team behind only Vincent Jackson (250). … New athletic director Michael Kelly, who formally starts Monday, addressed the team briefly at the end of practice. … Jefferson High alumnus Jean Marcellus appeared to be getting second-team reps at center.

AUDIBLE: "It's great to be on a level playing field. To have an indoor facility we're tremendously grateful. Sometimes you wonder how you survived without it. It's something that you need, you have to have if you're on the Gulf Coast." — Houston coach Major Applewhite to the Houston Chronicle. The Cougars' indoor facility opened late last year. USF still hasn't broken ground on the proposed $40 million USF Football Center.