1. USF Bulls

Starting o-line taking shape

While the USF QB derby rages, the unit protecting the eventual winner is solidifying, Coach Willie Taggart said Thursday night.

Senior Brynjar Gudmundsson is solid at center -- the only line position he hasn't played in college -- while Carrollwood Day alumnus Mak Djulbegovic maintains his hold on the starting right tackle spot, Taggart confirmed. A third senior, Thor Jozwiak, appears entrenched at left guard.

"It's feeling really good, man," Gudmundsson said.

"We're playing physical, we're playing together, we're playing for each other. ... Jelling, that's been our theme. We're trying to jell no matter who's in there. It has to be no drop-off, playing 100 mph all the time, communicating and what not. We've been doing a great job of that so far in this camp, I believe."

Even more jobs -- up front and elsewhere -- could be cemented Saturday, when the Bulls are expected to hold a private scrimmage either before or after USF's 10 a.m. Fan Fest at the Sun Dome.

"I think the unity up (front), the synergy that those guys have now, is really showing," Taggart said following Thursday evening's workout, which he opened to boosters.

"And just the camaraderie that those guys have off the field is showing on the football field now. ... I think the things we're doing up front now are a little simpler for those guys, where they can just line up and play and don't have to think much. A lot of things we do, it's easy for the line."

A DAY AT THE BEACH: Taggart's decision to bypass practice Wednesday afternoon and take the Bulls via bus to Clearwater Beach for a few hours produced the desired effect.

He called Thursday's workout a "really good practice."

"And we expected that," he said. "We gave 'em a day off (Wednesday) and they got a chance to get some rest, and came out and had a wonderful practice. And I had a feeling we would. Guys were talking (Thursday) morning about what kind of practice we were gonna have (that) night. ... I knew then we weren't going to have to fool guys out here to come out and practice well."

CHERRY ARRIVES: Freshman ILB Cecil Cherry, who spent three days in Texas' preseason camp before transferring to USF, was on campus Thursday but isn't expected to join the team for practice until next week. Cherry, a four-star recruit who played his senior season at Lakeland Victory Christian, must sit out the '15 season per NCAA transfer rules.

ODDS AND ENDS: Joined by Taggart, the Bulls again participated in Thursday morning's Bull Haul, helping students carry luggage, microwaves, TVs and other personal effects into their dorm rooms. ... A majority of Thursday's practice was closed to reporters, but the Bulls' official Twitter feed reported an assortment of big plays. They included Plant High alumnus Jordan Reed hauling in a wide receiver screen and darting for a big gain after making several defenders miss; and QB Quinton Flowers finding redshirt freshman Tyre McCants on a quick slant for a 30-yard TD. Reporters were allowed entry in time to see sophomore TB D'Ernest Johnson score from roughly 20 yards on what appeared to be a sweep.

AUDIBLE: "And I tell you what, there's another five (linemen) right behind us (starters) that are playing just as good. This is the best depth that I've ever seen at the offensive line position at USF." -- Jozwiak

AUDIBLE, PART DEUX: "We just had a newborn and I still get sleep at night...just because guys understand expectations around here. I tell everyone now, I don't get emotionally hijacked anymore because guys know what to do, guys are holding each other accountable. And when I say accountable, on and off the football field." -- Taggart, discussing the positive culture change within the program since he took over in December 2012