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B.J. Daniels reflects on spring ball
Posted Apr 9, 2012 by Joey Johnston
Updated Apr 9, 2012 at 08:31 AM
Following Friday’s scrimmage, University of South Florida football coach Skip Holtz is scheduled to release his first depth chart on Monday. There probably won’t be many shockers, especially at quarterback, where rising senior B.J. Daniels continues to set the pace ahead of reserves Bobby Eveld and Matt Floyd.
Daniels looked especially sharp during the scrimmage, when he completed 13 of 23 passes for 174 yards and two touchdowns, including a 52-yarder to Andre Davis. Early on, Sterling Griffin got behind the defense on deep route, but dropped a Daniels pass that would’ve gone for about 50 yards. Daniels said he was impressed with players at the skill positions, particularly receiver-turned-running back Lindsey Lamar, who had 60 yards on 10 carries.
Holtz stressed that any statistics, and the scrimmage itself, were somewhat relative. It was set up to evaluate personnel, mixing and matching on the fly. It was set up in eight-play increments, so some promising drives simply were negating after the eighth play.
Daniels, though, showed his typical mobility while delivering the ball on time and also showing good range on the deep throws.
“I’m acclimated to the offense,’’ Daniels said. “When I first got here at USF, I was working under different coordinators and there were times when I was just trying to learn the new offense. Once you’re in the same offense for a while, once you master it, then you can manipulate it. I can make defenses go in certain directions just by using my eyes. You can take advantage of a guy who might be overplaying certain things. It’s going to be fun.’‘
USF offensive coordinator Todd Fitch said Daniels has shown “significant growth.’’ Last season, Daniels made strides in knowing when to deliver (and when not to deliver) in the passing game. Fitch said most of Daniels’ errors occurred when he ran, particularly with ball security.
“Don’t predetermine where you’re going with a third-and-6 situation,’’ Fitch said. “Don’t just jam it in there because it’s a 6-yard route. Relax your mind and go through the progressions. That will be the next step for him. He knows what he’s supposed to do for the most part. He has really grown in his game management.’‘
Daniels, going into his fourth season as USF’s starter, joked that he has “a long rap sheet.’‘
“To have four years under my belt—and really it’s my fifth season (including a redshirt)—it’s exciting,’’ Daniels said. “Everybody is trying to put pressure on me. ‘What are you going to do now? It’s your last year.’ More of the pressure comes from my teammates and myself. We still have the opportunity to be part of something special and that’s being part of the first team to win the Big East.’‘
Inevitably, Daniels has been in the firestorm of any public criticism, particularly during USF’s 5-7 finish last season, which included a 1-6 mark in the Big East. He said he’s largely unaware of outside noise, choosing to focus on moving forward and improving.
“I guess I’m a sheltered kid,’’ Daniels said. “I live in a bubble. I don’t have Facebook, Twitter and all that kind of stuff. I just enjoy the atmosphere, being around college football, being part of something I’m always going to remember.’‘