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USF scrimmage notes: Welch and Virgin catching on; defense owns day

Posted Aug 14, 2010 by Scott Carter

Updated Aug 14, 2010 at 10:04 PM

Some notes from USF’s scrimmage today in Vero Beach from Tribune correspondent Phil Neary:

—While starter B.J. Daniels struggled early in the scrimmage, true freshman Jamius Gunsby showed some progress.

Gunsby’s long completion to Hornes set up the offense’s only touchdown, a 4-yard run by redshirt freshman Bradley Battles, who is vying for playing time at running back.

USF coach Skip Holtz on Gunsby: “He’s had some passion, some energy about him. I thought he did a good job running the football team. ... He can keep some things alive with his running ability.”

—The defense picked off three passes, with senior S/CB Mistral Raymond, redshirt freshman S JaQuez Jenkins and true freshman S Reshard Cliett recording picks. The defense constantly pressured the quarterback and also limited the running game to around two yards per carry.

“We performed pretty well. There was some nice hitting and the tackling was a little better than I thought it was going to be,’’ defensive coordinator Mark Snyder said, adding he thought the overall emotion of the defense could have been better despite the success.

—Holtz has repeatedly praised true freshman WR Deonte Welch during camp. Welch didn’t disappoint Saturday.

With the Bulls in desperate need of finding playmakers at receiver, Welch had a few moments Saturday, including a 20-yard reception from Gunsby.

“He’s a guy we wanted to get the ball to a bunch,’’ offensive coordinator Todd Fitch said. “He showed he was able to make a couple plays for us.’‘

Daniels is impressed with Welch’s ability to get free in open space.

“He’s got tremendous speed,’’ Daniels said. “He’s a fast guy, has got good hands, and can judge a deep ball. He’s not just a fast guy who can run; he can go out there and go get it as well.’‘

—Redshirt freshman Isaac Virgin, a quarterback-turned-receiver, is another player who is starting to find a role according to Holtz.

Virgin, who reeled in two passes early during Saturdays scrimmage, switched from tight end to receiver earlier in camp. Virgin has also seen time at quarterback and fullback at USF.

“Isaac Virgin (has) got a lot of talent,’’ Holtz said Saturday. “We just need him to continue to come. I keep hating to use the term young and inexperienced, but that’s what he is. I would expect him to continue to come around and end up being a pretty good force in what we’re doing from an offensive standpoint.’‘

Other notes:

Holtz said he plans to have a depth chart figured out by late Sunday or early Monday ... Snyder said he is impressed with freshman CB Terrence Mitchell and freshman DT Todd Chandler so far in camp, and said Chandler’s role as a third- and fourth-stringer is because of the depth at the position. “We’re trying to get those other guys ready to play,’’ Snyder said. ... Snyder said LB Sam Barrington, who has lingering effects from a shoulder injury suffered in the spring, didn’t play as a precaution ... Walk-on freshman WR Stephen Bravo-Brown, who caught Holtz’s attention with his work ethic in summer workouts, led the team with four catches.

—USF is scheduled to return to the practice field at around 2:30 Sunday.

—According to Tribune Rays beat writer Roger Mooney, Holtz’s opening pitch at Saturday’s Rays-Orioles game was a strike. Holtz departed Vero Beach immediately after Saturday’s practice for St. Petersburg, and then returned Saturday evening to break down film of Saturday’s scrimmage.

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