Bulls Beat: Spring football drills give glimpses
We won't know for sure until the games are real. But everyone wonders what kind of offense Willie Taggart will employ this fall at the University of South Florida.
Taggart wants a quarterback who is “smart and tough,'' preferably one who can make at least two first downs per game with running ability. Based on his past history, Taggart favors an overall run-first philosophy.
USF offensive coordinator Walt Wells said, “Our style is different; we're more of a downhill run team.''
But don't confuse that for a woefully conservative approach.
“We like to take our shots down the field,'' Wells said. “We like to find mismatches and exploit them.''
Already, senior running back Marcus Shaw (5-foot-9, 178 pounds), sophomore tight end Sean Price (6-3, 249) and sophomore wide receiver D'Vario Montgomery (6-5, 200) have caught Taggart's eye during spring practices.
Shaw, whose three-season production has been limited by injuries, is USF's most experienced back, but has just 83 career carries for 391 yards. Wells sees Shaw as “an athletic guy who can get open in the passing game and be a mismatch on linebackers, even on safeties.''
Price and Montgomery each had impressive freshman moments during last season's 3-9 mark under Skip Holtz, who counted them as perhaps the two most prized acquisitions of his final recruiting class.
Price didn't catch his first pass until the sixth game, but finished with 21 receptions for 209 yards and one touchdown. Montgomery had six receptions for 65 yards.
“Last year, I kind of got in the offense and I kind of knew it, but I wasn't really rolling,'' Montgomery said. “I feel like this year I'm going to get rolling and be really good at what we do. I'm ready to compete.''
More football The football team received a verbal commitment from Miami Central offensive lineman Michael Smith (6-foot-3, 315 pounds). Expect some Central teammates to follow Smith's path to Tampa. Telly Lockette, the former Central head coach, was hired as USF's running backs coach just before spring drills began.
DT Todd Chandler (right foot fracture) and OL Lawrence Martin (shoulder) will miss the remainder of spring with injuries. …USF coaches caution that all first-team alignments are fluid. It's a “moving'' depth chart and sometimes first-team status is granted because of performance in the previous practice. …DT Luke Sager has continually been singled out for his performance and leadership. …Defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan said the Bulls are generally operating in a 4-3 alignment, but he's exposing players to some 3-4 concepts “to see if we have those kind of people.'' …Future Football Championship Subdivision opening-game opponents added to USF's schedule include Towson (2016), Stony Brook (2017) and Elon (2018).
Bulls bits Junior shortstop Kourtney Salvarola was named Big East Conference softball player of the week. Salvarola, who leads the conference with 11 home runs, had three homers in a sweep of Villanova. …Freshman catcher/outfielder Lee Ann Spivey was named to the USA Softball Junior Women's National Team, while freshman pitcher Erica Nunn was named an alternate. . …California women's basketball (32-3) has earned its first Final Four berth. No doubt, that spurs some mixed emotions for Jose Fernandez's USF program, which took Cal to overtime in the second round before falling 82-78 on March 25. It adds more credibility to USF's season, but also brings some what-could-have-been pain. … USF men's basketball never has played Tulsa, new addition to the soon-to-be-renamed Big East Conference in 2014-15. …Two-time All-America defensive end George Selvie, who signed a free-agent contract Tuesday with the Bucs, had 29 sacks in 51 games at USF. In the NFL, he has three sacks in 36 games.