For someone who was supposed to be limited after having shoulder surgery after the season, quarterback B.J. Daniels sure finished up USF's spring in a big way.
Daniels topped off coach Skip Holtz' first spring with the Bulls by throwing for 381 yards and five touchdowns in the spring game, completing 23 of his 31 passes.
Even considering the defenders were prohibited from tackling the dual-threat sophomore, it was an impressive performance.
"I'm really encouraged with what I see right now," Holtz said. "He has a laser arm, but he saw the corner roll up and shot that first touchdown. That was just a strike. You don't teach that.
"You know, you can put on the board, you can show them what happens when that guy goes there. But there aren't many guys you will see that are as quick as he is and get that ball up and off."
If Daniels develops consistency, the Bulls have the potential to be one of the top offenses in the Big East with the likes of receivers like Dontavia Bogan and running back Moise Plancher among the 10 returning starters.
The Bulls' defense could be another story.
The Bulls have concerns at end, where they lose the pass-rushing abilities of George Selvie and Jason Pierre-Paul, and in the secondary with the losses of cornerback Jerome Murphy and safety Nate Allen.
"We are going to look at ourselves as a defense," Holtz said.NOTES, QUOTES
--The one discouraging note coming out of the spring was a knee injury to WR A.J. Love in the spring game. Love, who has had one knee injury in his career, was to have further testing to determine the seriousness of the latest injury. Love had 26 receptions for 489 yards last fall and had three catches for 59 yards and a touchdown in the spring game before his injury.
--Sophomore Evan Landi may be one of the more versatile performers on USF's roster. After serving as backup quarterback last year, he was moved back to receiver in the spring, but then came on to fill in at quarterback in the spring game. Landi had two catches for 62 yards, including a 57-yard reception on the game's first play, at wideout before moving back to quarterback and going 11-for-24 passing for 152 yards.
WR Lindsey Lamar -- Moved from running back, Lamar looks to get lots of opportunities in the fall since being moved to wideout. The switch should relief the physical demands put him on at running back from his 5-9, 160-pound frame. He had 40 carries last fall for 174 yards.
RB Demetris Murray -- A sophomore who had only 14 carries for 77 yards in 2009, Murray had two impressive scrimmages before topping off the session by rushing for 38 yards and a touchdown on eight carries in the spring game. He looks to back up veteran Moise Plancher.
CB Daniel Bryant -- Bryant made the switch from receiver to the secondary and played well enough to earn him a spot among USF's top four cornerbacks. Bryant was hurt his freshman season in 2008 and did not play, and he sat out last season while tending to academic issues.
LB Sam Barrington -- The sophomore firmed up his role as the starter in the middle for the Bulls. He had 41 tackles as a freshman last year and had one start.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I'm really pleased with the team, I'm really pleased with the attitude, the work habits, the way they're playing together, the way they're picking up the offense and the defense, and the things that they're doing." -- Coach Skip Holtz, summing up his impressions after his first spring at USF.STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
2010 OUTLOOK: The return of 10 starters on offense should make USF one of the more productive teams in the Big East, but the loss of seven starters on defense leaves a lot of rebuilding to do on defense. The Bulldogs go to Florida for the second game of the season but otherwise have an opportunity for another quick start with four home games in their first five outings before hitting the meat of their conference schedule.
SCOUTING THE OFFENSE: QB B.J. Daniels (772 yards rushing, 1,983 passing as a redshirt freshman in 2009) gives the Bulls an explosive attack, especially if WR Dontavia Bogan (22 catches, 305 yards in 2009) picks up where he left off in the spring. Quarterbacks (Daniels and Matt Grothe) have led the Bulls in rushing in each of the last four years, a trend first-year coach Skip Holtz hopes to end. RBs Moise Plancher and Demetris Murray have the potential to do just that.
SCOUTING THE DEFENSE: The Bulls have concerns at end and in the secondary in bringing back only four starters from a unit that ranked third in the Big East in 2009, holding foes to 322 yards a game. DE Ryne Giddens, who had four sacks in two games as a freshman last year before going out with a season-ending knee injury, could be the key to restoring a pass rush depleted by the loss of George Selvie and Jason Pierre-Paul. Senior LB Sabbath Joseph is a steadying influence at linebacker.
SCOUTING THE SPECIAL TEAMS: PK Eric Schwartz was 11-for-16 on field goals last year but faces a challenge from Maikon Bonani, who was injured in fall last year and couldn't play. Bonani was 15-for-21 as a freshman in 2008. Sophomore Justin Brockhaus-Kann is the likely punter. Senior Faron Hornes is the incumbent punt returner, and senior Dontavia Bogan returns as the primary kickoff returner (21.4 average).
LB Curtis Weatherspoon -- A junior college transfer who enrolled early to take part in spring drills, Weatherspoon will move to linebacker after playing in the secondary at Dean College in Franklin, Mass. He was Co-Defensive Player of the Year in the Northeast Football Conference.
DE Claude Davis -- Another junior college transfer (East Mississippi CC), Davis will get an early opportunity for playing time. He also is taking part in spring drills.
CB Ricardo Dixon -- The redshirt freshman will sit out spring drills after having shoulder surgery, but he is expected to compete for a backup job in the secondary in the fall.
DE Ryne Giddens -- Giddens played in three games last year, registering sacks on his first two tackles, before going out with an ankle injury. He was rated a four-star recruit when he signed in 2009.
--Senior RG Zach Hermann, who started the first eight games last year before sustaining a neck injury, has decided to give up football after battling effects of the injury. He was projected as a starter for 2010.
--DT Leslie Stirrups, who played in nine games last year after transferring from East Mississippi Community College, has been dismissed from the team because of violation of team rules. He was credited with nine tackles, including one for a loss, in 2009.
--TE Andreas Shields, who was No. 3 on the depth chart going into the spring, required surgery on both ankles but is expected to be available in the fall.
Previous Report: 03/25/2010