This week USF head coach Skip Holtz had a round table discussion with several core guys that cover the team and yours truly was one of them. Holtz covered a lot of areas including the big picture, what they're looking at depth chart wise, and everything else as they go forward. Here's part one of what Holtz said concerning the offense.
"I feel like we got a lot done this spring" said Holtz. "Anytime as you can go as many scrimmage reps as we did this spring and we went a lot of them. The first two were marathons, the first one went 170 plays and that was the most I've ever done. The second went 150 and the third went about 120, you add them up and that's close to 500 scrimmage plays that we got and we stayed healthy [knocked on wood]." Last year the Bulls lost receiver A.J. Love to injury and know the need to stay healthy.
"Staying healthy and getting all that experience work was invaluable to us," said Holtz. "I think the attitude of the team, their work habits and the way things are going we have a chance. I think this summer is going to be critical for us. I think the summer is going to be big. We're not throwing and catching the ball the way we need to be a really good offensive football team and that's why I think this summer is for. These guys being up here running lifting and throwing together, they got to get a lot of this done all on their own. If we don't come into camp more polished then we are when we left spring ball, then we have a lot of work to get done in the passing game."
Holtz mentioned the biggest concerns coming out of the spring and one of them is the offensive line and the depth at the unit.
"I feel really good about 5-6 of the offensive linemen right now. I think we're going to have a starting five that's going to be competitive," said Holtz who also was concerned with the depth of the unit. "We're going to need some of these freshmen to come in here and I'm really excited to see them. Some of the freshmen are going to have a chance to play and some doors are open. If the freshmen are going to play that's because the upper classmen are opening doors for them. If they're playing at the level they need to be at then the freshmen will red shirt because they're young, they're going to need to get used to it and get acclimated to school. But when you come out of the spring and you see there are some holes on the offensive line from a depth standpoint, then there will be some opportunities there."
"Popek had a great spring, for a guy that's been a back-up for his whole career and then come in and have the spring he did and Q. Eatmon is just a breath of fresh air. He came in as a freshman and we needed him to come on and he did." I feel good about those five, the tackles, and Jeremiah Warren and Chaz Hine, I feel really good about them."
Holtz mentioned that Damien Edwards, John McGhin and Kevin McCaskill are doing a good job, "A lot of those guys are starting to come along, but they're still not where we need them to be to say they're starters and our two deep," said Holtz. "A lot of those five linemen coming in here, some of them will have a chance to help this football team. That's going to be critical for how good we're going to be and that's going to be the depth. The offensive line is the biggest area of concern I have right now."
The tight end position
"It's going to be nice to get Hawkins back," said Holtz. "We've been piecing it together because we don't know if Turner the freshman is going to have a chance to play. Hawkins is coming back and Isaac Virgin and Andreas Shields had a really good spring. I think that Armando Sanchez and Chris Breit were both really good additions at the full back position and have done a really good job."
The quarterback position
"I like the progress that B.J.'s made and is getting into the run where he's mentally ready to play. Even though he has more starts than any other QB in BIG east, you always go through mental hurdles with a young quarterback. Physically he's as ready as he's ever been, but he's making better decisions, he's being good with the ball, knowing when to run it and when to throw it. Knowing when to make the first down and when to throw it away or when it's time to punt it. He's starting to really understand the game. This is the first year since he's been in college that he's had the same offensive coordinator two years in row. He's learned three offenses in three years and now all of a sudden he has stability. He has the same position coach, the same offense, and he's really growing in it."
"Bobby Eveld has continued to progress and has done some really good things," said Holtz. "I think Matt Floyd is going to be pretty special one day. He's going to be really good and is showing all the intangible things, the decision making, the poise, handling pressure and all those type of things. I think we have three really talented quarterbacks competing this spring."
The receiver position
"The biggest question mark has been at the receiver position," said Holtz. "Obviously, you have Landi and Terrance Mitchell as two guys I think have really come out and playing a solid role for us. Joel Miller is a third one. Those three guys give us stability and are playing well right now and are doing good thing for us."
"The biggest surprise has been Victor Marc. He's embracing the position, learning it, growing up and I'd expect him to help this football team. The other guy who's been a pleasant surprise has been Deonte Welch. He got a lot of reps, has gotten a lot better, and put himself into the mix."
"Sterling Griffin is coming back from his injury and didn't haven't as consistent as a spring as I'd like to consider him a starter right now, but the talent is there and just need to have him to continue to grow as a receiver, but he is in the mix. I'm anxious to see A.J. Love come back mentally. His knee is physically good to go but it's going to be a confidence thing with him and his comfort level just wasn't there yet. A couple of the freshman Andre Davis and Ruben Gonzalez will have an opportunity to make an impact."
The running backs
"Deepest position is running back," said Holtz. "Demetris Murray is not giving the position up lightly. Darrell Scott is a phenomenal talent and had a great spring. He's tough, he's hardnosed, playing well with the ball, without the ball, and is doing some great things. I think a lot of that is due to the competition he has with Murray. Like I said, Murray is doing all the little things and is entrenched in there and doesn't want to give it up. He's playing injured, pushing it and I think those two are doing a great job."
"I think Shaw had a great first half and it was a shame he got hurt, but I think if he continues to progress and do what he's doing, he'll bring some punch to the unit because he's a speed guy and quicker than the other two and is a great compliment. Donate Aycock did some good things after missing the beginning and needs to get in better shape and the summer will be important to him. It's a great unit with a whole lot of competition going on."
Stay tuned with USFNation.com for part two of this series.