1. What players will step up and emerge on the offensive line?
There were many position battles to watch this spring, but none as important as the offensive line. The Bulls graduated three senior linemen in Sampson Genus, Jake Sims, and Jamar Bass who all played a lot of snaps for USF. With several spots open across the line, all eyes were on what players will step up and emerge as starters and impact players on the offensive line.
Offensive tackle Mark Popek saw action as a freshman, playing in 12 games and starting five of the last six, at tackle and earned All-BIG EAST Freshman honors. He was injured during the pre-season in 2010 but saw action in seven games, making four starts, at tackle. He battled a few cases of food poisoning before the spring, and switched to the left side, but was still able to show enough to earn first team reps throughout the spring, and is the starting left tackle.
At center Kevin McCaskill, another fifth year senior that saw a lot of action backing up Genus, had the most experience of the returning centers, so it wasn't a shock that he was listed as the first team center throughout the spring and kept the spot. The biggest surprise was redshirt freshman Quinterrius Eatmon. He lost close to 60 pounds since arriving on campus and is built like a true tackle, and through his hard work earned a starter spot at right tackle. He still needs to work on his body after losing so much weight, but has shown plenty of potential.
Junior's Damien Edwards and redshirt sophomore John McGhin both had good springs along with Danous Estenor and will be in the mix to add depth. Redshirt Austin Reiter was listed as the second team center, but others got reps and that's a position to watch over the summer.
2. Which of last year's redshirts will have a breakout season?
The Bulls had a big class of redshirt freshmen last year with over 20 players getting the designation. This spring was the time for us to see who has developed and is ready to make an impact for the spring and the upcoming season and there were several that fit that bill.
The first name has to be Quinterrius Eatmon, who was already mentioned as earning a starting spot at right tackle during the spring. Eatmon did what he had to do to lose the weight and has shown enough to earn a starting spot and he should be an impact on the o-line.
I have to give a shout out to punter Chris Veron, who took the starting punting job from an incumbent starter. He was solid all spring, had great numbers and earned the spot.
Reshard Cliett made the switch from safety to linebacker and his name was mentioned throughout the spring and earned a spot on the two-deep depth chart. He still has to put on some muscle, but showed that he has potential to be an impact guy.
WR Deonte Welch made some noise this spring and had the best game out of the receivers in the spring game with six passes for 110 yards and made a fantastic play going up and taking the ball away from the Q. Washington for a 50 yard gain. Plays like that earned him a spot on the two-deep and he could make some noise this season.
NT Todd Chandler made some gains and is battling to get on the two-deep, but it's still too hard to say if he'll be an impact this year just yet. Austin Reiter was on the two-deep all spring as was K Marvin Kloss. But and we'll have to wait until the summer to see what their impact will be.
3. How much of an impact will the 2010 transfers have?
You've been hearing about the high profile transfers since last summer. Darrell Scott, the big 6-foot-1, 226 pound Colorado transfer who was the highest rated running back in '08, Dontae Aycock, a 5-foot-9, 230 pound transfer from Auburn that was a former local star at Chamberlain, and Spencer Boyd, a 5-foot-9,175 pound transfer from Notre Dame. Their transfer year is now complete and it was time to see what they can do this spring.
Scott's name was mentioned all year and this spring wowed us since he hit the practice field. He's a perfect blend of size, speed, and strength and his named was mention all spring. He suffered a calf strain early in the first spring game, but returned for the green and gold game and had 75 yards and a score on just 10 carries, including nice 32 yard scamper. He's listed as the number two back, but is almost a co-starter at this point and should be a huge impact on this season.
Aycock had knee surgery to alleviate pain from tendinitis in October and showed some flashes this spring running and catching the ball. He dropped about 15 pounds, but still needs to shed some weight to get back to his old form.
Spencer Boyd made the switch to cornerback this spring, but a lingering hamstring strain slowed his development. He came back and played, but it's still too hard to say at this point what kind of an impact he'll have, and we'll have to wait until fall camp to see.
Stay tuned with USFNation.com for the next series of answers.