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Billy Atterbury transitions to left tackle for USF

The Clearwater Central Catholic alumnus started 23 consecutive games at right guard for the Bulls.
USF guard Billy Atterbury (78) talks with Sebastian Sainterling offensive lineman (70) during the second half of the season opener against Elon at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa last season. (OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times)
USF guard Billy Atterbury (78) talks with Sebastian Sainterling offensive lineman (70) during the second half of the season opener against Elon at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa last season. (OCTAVIO JONES | Times)
Published Aug. 5, 2019
Updated Aug. 6, 2019

TAMPA ― After 23 consecutive starts at right guard, fifth-year Bulls senior Billy Atterbury appears destined to make his collegiate debut at left tackle when USF hosts Wisconsin on Aug. 30.

New offensive coordinator Kerwin Bell, who experimented with Atterbury on the left side in the spring, indicated Monday that the move likely is permanent.

An all-state anchor at left tackle for Clearwater Central Catholic, Atterbury lined up with the first team in his new position during the portion of 11-on-11 work open to reporters Monday. He trades spots with former Gaither standout Donovan Jennings, a 340-pound sophomore who started four games at left tackle in 2019.

“We really like (Atterbury) over there,” Bell said. “What it does, it moves Donovan ― who’s just a big, natural, explosive, physical guy ― into guard. He’s down to about 330 (pounds) now but he’ll get up to 340, so his natural position is gonna be really a guard, I believe.”

Atterbury (6-foot-4, 305 pounds) and senior right tackle Marcus Norman enter the season with 61 combined career starts on the line. Barring injury or demotion, the opening-night offensive front should feature those two, Jennings, sophomore center Brad Cecil and redshirt sophomore left guard Demetris Harris.

The unit’s average weight (per the fall-camp roster): 316 pounds.

“I think it’s made us more powerful and more be able to move guys off the rock inside with those two big guards...and Brad at center,” Bell said.

“And then moving Billy outside, I think he’s just at the point now of his career that he’s very dependable. That left tackle is a very important spot when you’re throwing the football, and I think he’s gonna do a really good job for us.”

MORE USF: Portal could pay off again for USF in 2019

Walking on to first team

Proving his breakthrough spring was no aberration, walk-on slot receiver Bryce Miller took some reps with the first team Monday.

Afterward, Bell indicated Miller ― an East Lake alumnus who transferred from NAIA Southeastern University ― is in the best shape of anyone in fall camp.

“He can run all day,” Bell said.

“He runs so many sharp, disciplined routes. We like guys who can get in and out of routes, so he fits exactly what we’re looking for, and we’re gonna give him a lot of opportunities. I believe he’s gonna be in the rotation when we start the season.”

Related: WR Bryce Miller enjoys breakout spring for USF

Tweaking for the tight end

Bell, who rarely incorporated a true tight end in his offense last season at Valdosta State, said he and his staff have revamped things just to make Mackey Award candidate Mitch Wilcox a focal part of it.

The Blazers’ top receiving tight end last season was Travis Taylor, who had six catches. Wilcox could haul in that many by halftime of the Wisconsin game, if Bell has his druthers.

“We didn’t have a great tight end those three years we were there (at Valdosta),” Bell said.

“But with Mitch, we have sort of introduced that position (as) a lot more important in our system. It’s easy to do that, so we’ve done that. We’ve incorporated him a lot more 'cause we’ve got to find a way to keep him on the field.”

With 72 career receptions, Wilcox needs only four to eclipse USF’s all-time record for a tight end held by Sean Price.

Odds and ends

The Bulls picked up their 16th verbal commitment from the class of 2020 when Port Orange Atlantic outside linebacker Tyler Berrong announced Sunday via Twitter he intends to sign with USF. A three-star prospect according to Rivals, Berrong reportedly also had serious offers from Missouri, Pitt and West Virginia, among others. ... Lining up with the second-team offense Monday was center Michael Wiggs, freshman left tackle Josh Blanchard, right tackle Jarrett Hopple, right guard Hal Roberson and left guard Sebastian Sainterling.


“Really, the team’s chemistry is insanely better than last year.” ― senior quarterback Blake Barnett


  1. USF wide receiver Randall St. Felix (84) and the Bulls have only one open date in the 2020 season. USF's complete 2020 schedule was finalized Tuesday.
  2. Former USF coach Charlie Strong (left), greeting Alabama coach Nick Saban at a 2017 summer football camp on the Bulls campus, reportedly has joined Saban's staff in an analyst role.
  3. Connecticut's Megan Walker, left, drives past USF's Shae Leverett during the second half of the Huskies' 67-47 triumph Sunday at the Yuengling Center. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson)
  4. Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma brings his team to the Yuengling Center for the final time as an American Athletic Conference member today.
  5. USF coach Brian Gregory, pacing the sideline during a January game at the Yuengling Center, watched his team score only 11 first-half points in Saturday's 56-48 loss to Tulsa. [OCTAVIO JONES | TAMPA BAY TIMES]
  6. USF interim coach Jess Moore watches her team from the dugout on the opening day of the St. Pete/Clearwater Elite Invitational at Eddie C. Moore Complex in Clearwater.
  7. Florida quarterback Kyle Trask (11) reacts after scoring a touchdown during the second half of the Orange Bowl against Virginia on Dec. 30 in Miami Gardens.
  8. Bishop McLaughlin alumnus Carson Ragsdale, a clutch reliever for USF two seasons ago, returns after missing a season due to Tommy John surgery.
  9. Former USF quarterbacks B.J. Daniels, left, and Quinton Flowers, right, could square off when Seattle plays host to Tampa Bay in an XFL game Saturday.
  10. USF's Michael Durr blocks a shot attempt from Houston's Justin Gorham during the first half Wednesday in Tampa.
  11. ESPN films game action  on the final day of the St. Pete/Clearwater Elite Invitational at Eddie C. Moore. Fields in Clearwater last year.
  12. In USF's four conference victories this season, junior Justin Brown (13) has averaged 10.5 points and 7.5 rebounds.