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Hot topics as USF opens spring football
Posted Mar 15, 2010 by Scott Carter
Updated Mar 16, 2010 at 07:36 PM
Skip Holtz has been USF’s head football coach for more than two months. We’ll finally get to see how Holtz looks with a whistle hanging around his neck on Tuesday when the Bulls open spring practice. Holtz has a lot more questions than answers about the Bulls. Here is a quick look at some of the key topics entering spring practice:
The Bulls open spring practice with starting QB B.J. Daniels still recovering from surgery on his non-throwing shoulder. That’s the good news. The bad news is Daniels won’t be available to participate in full drills this spring. He is expected to be able to stop wearing the sling on his left shoulder this week, but in the meantime, Evan Landi and walk-on Ryan Eppes will get most of the snaps in spring practice.
By the time fall arrives, Daniels should be completely healthy and in control of the offense with true freshman Jamius Gunsby his back-up, Landi likely at receiver, and Eppes at least a spot down the depth chart.
GETTING ON THE SAME PAGE
Holtz and the six new assistant coaches have watched film of all the players, have spoken individually with them, and finally know all their names. However, they won’t really get to know the Bulls until they watch them on the field for the next month.
The coaches and players have spent much of the past two months learning different terminology and developing relationships. Holtz and offensive coordinator Todd Fitch will implement their offense from East Carolina, defensive coordinator Mark Snyder will bring much of his defense from Marshall, and the three assistants retained from Jim Leavitt’s staff — Larry Scott, Kevin Patrick and Phil McGeoghan — will serve as sort of a bridge for players as they make the transition from the old system to the new one.
If anyone had forgotten that Leavitt is no longer the only coach in the USF football program’s history, they were reminded of the fact Monday when Leavitt filed a lawsuit against the school. Holtz has worked tirelessly the past two months with university officials to move past the ugly end of Leavitt’s tenure, but with walk-on running back Joel Miller still on the team — he is the player at the center of the controversy that led to Leavitt’s firing — Holtz will keep a close eye on the situation to make sure any off-the-field issues don’t become on-the-field issues.
RELOADING ON DEFENSE
The offense returns mostly intact minus RB Mike Ford, who was kicked off the team last month for violation of university policy, and WR Carlton Mitchell, who opted to leave school early and enter the NFL draft.
The same can’t be said on defense, where DE Jason Pierre-Paul, DE George Selvie, LB Kion Wilson, LB Chris Robinson, CB Jerome Murphy and S Nate Allen have all departed. Snyder will take a close look at newcomers Claude Davis (DE), Curtis Weatherspoon (LB) and Brandon Wilkinson (DE) this spring.
While there are holes to fill, LB Sam Barrington, LB Sabbath Joseph and DBs Quenton Washington, Kayvon Webster and Jerrell Young provide a talented core to work around.
QUOTE OF NOTE
“I haven’t seen B.J. Daniels throw a live football yet. I haven’t seen [Jamar] Bass make a block, or [Mark] Popek make a block, or [Demetris] Murray run the ball. We have not been on the field one day of practice yet, so it’s real hard for me to assess where we are as a football team. We have been out on the field with agility drills and all those type of things. Right now, I’ve really been impressed with the athleticism we have.’’—Holtz on his knowledge of the team entering spring drills.