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Fitting end for USF in Vero Beach

Posted Aug 17, 2011 by Adam Adkins

Updated Aug 17, 2011 at 07:53 PM

VERO BEACH USF’s stay at the Vero Beach Sports Village seemed to come with a fitting end Wednesday.

Skip Holtz watched his team labor through a taxing two-hour-plus workout that included approximately 145 plays of team drills in sweltering conditions under the late-morning, early-afternoon sun, but on display was the team unity USF aimed to build during the 12-day stint on the east coast.

“We gassed them, but I was really proud of the way they pushed through it,” USF’s coach said. “The way they’re kind of coming together as a team right now, listening to when they were getting tired how they were picking each other up, encouraging each other on each side of the ball, it’s kind of neat to see it all come together.”

Bulls players talked throughout the stay about the benefits associated with holding a portion of camp in Vero Beach, particularly the chance it gave them to grow closer as a team. As they prepared to pack up and head back to Tampa, the consensus was that again was achieved, maybe even more so than during last year’s stay.

“Things are really starting to click. We’re starting to mesh a lot, a lot of mojo going on, a lot of love on this team,” junior LB Mike Lanaris said. “Definitely clicking on a lot more cylinders than a year ago.”

DANIELS DOESN’T MISS A BEAT: Bulls QB B.J. Daniels fully participated in practice for a third consecutive day, again showing no effects of the left hamstring injury that kept him out of team drills for a few days last week and Saturday’s first scrimmage.

USF quarterbacks coach Peter Vaas said the way Daniels performed over the last three days, “to be perfectly honest, it doesn’t look like he’s missed any time.”

While Daniels was limited for a few days he made good use of the time, staying on the hip of Holtz while taking mental reps when the offensive was on the field.

“I think it helped him tremendously,” Vaas said. “He sat back there, stood there and talked to coach Holtz, and every play they had a conversation. That can’t do anything but help make you better, help make you see things, again, process information and put it all together, which helps you play better.”

Daniels said he hasn’t experienced any problems with his hamstring since returning to the field on a full-time basis, though he continues to get treatment. Now, his focus is continuing to progress leading up to the season opener Sept. 3 at Notre Dame.

“I pray every day, just get better. Just do what you can to get better,” Daniels said. “You never stay the same. You can get worse or you can get better. You never want to be complacent. I’m always going to strive to get better.”

LANDI WORKING WITH TIGHT ENDS: Junior Evan Landi still considers himself more as a receiver, but the Bulls leading returning pass-catcher from last season has been working more lately with the tight ends, cross-training at a position where coaches feel he could be an asset.

Landi, who caught 28 passes as a full-time starter at receiver in 2010, said he believes he’s adapting quickly to the new role.

“I’m comfortable,” he said. “I believe I take pride in my blocking, along with route-running and catching. I still have stuff to learn though.”

BULLS BITS: Holtz said freshman FB Tye Turner also is among the newcomers expected to contribute this season. … OL John McGhin left Wednesday’s practice after injuring his back, though it’s considered minor. None of the players who have been sidelined the past few days – OL Mark Popek (head), DT Demi Thompson (back) and CB Ernie Tabuteau (back) – were able to return for the team’s final practice in Vero Beach. OL Tony Kibler (shoulder) also sat out for a second consecutive day.

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