USF Spring Practice: Top 5 Position Battles

With USF spring practice set to start tomorrow, USFNation.com takes a look at the top five position battles worth taking a close look at. Only on USFNation.com

For some sports fans that really like the college basketball, then this is the season. If you are one of these fans then this time of the year is very exciting with March Madness just a couple of weeks away, but if you're a Bulls fan, then the season is ending this week. However if you're a football guy like me, we spend our days thinking about the Bulls football team and what we can expect in 2008.

The good news is that the Bulls are starting spring practice two weeks early, and I've already marked on my calendar April 12, which is the day the Bulls annual Spring Game is scheduled. It's a great time for all of us fans to get a taste of college football six months before the start of the regular season. It's only been several weeks since signing what is arguably the best signing class in USF history, but they won't be here until summer, and the spring is the time to focus on the very talented players returning.

 

With the upcoming spring practices and spring game to follow, it makes you wonder what type of team we the Bulls will have this spring and who will take over for the departing seniors. As it is with every spring there is plenty of competitions going on to see who will earn a starting role or make in onto the two-deep depth chart, and with spring practice set to start tomorrow, USFNation.com takes a look at the top five position battles worth taking a closer look at.

 

#1 & #2: Cornerback - With both of last year's starting corners now gone, the left and right corner spots are wide open this spring. Jerome Murphy has the advantage in terms of experience, but does he have enough to lock the position down? Murphy held his own during the season as nickel back & safety and is a front runner to be a starter next year. Tyller Roberts also has experience and was a top back-up last year, and sophomore Dylan Douglas will also push this spring, but the staff is extremely high on redshirt freshman Quenton Washington, and Tyson Butler was stellar in high school. The good news is the staff has choices, and more help is coming in the next class, and there should be quality talent on both sides this fall. The bad news is there probably won't be a good deal of game day experience, so the work they get this spring will be huge.

#3: Defensive Tackle
Besides the corner position no other unit has lost more depth then the defensive line, especially the d-tackle position. Starting NT Richard Clebert, Allen Cray, Woody George, Julian Riley, are all gone, and freshmen Corian Garison and Kyle Dampier are no longer on the team. Rising Junior Aaron Harris has solidified himself at defensive tackle, but nose tackle isn't as set. Sophomore Terrell McClain made nice progress last season playing as a true freshman, and should provide ample competition to be starter. McClain offers unmatched athleticism for his size, but is only a freshman. The question remains, who will emerge this spring to push McClain and land on the two-deep depth chart?  Only Keith McCaskill and Trent Pupello are listed at the position and as of now Pupello has to sit out his transfer year. To help, the staff has said that Sampson Genus a talented offensive lineman will get a look at tackle. After that the Bulls have several D-ends, including redshirt freshmen David Fonua (255) and Darren Powe (245) that could slide over. There is minimal game day experience from the lot, and this spring should be interesting to see who steps up.

#4: Middle Linebacker
Bulls star linebacker Ben Moffitt, who has anchored the middle since before the Bulls joined the Big East, and his top back up Sam miller, are now gone. The question this spring is who will take over in the middle? The Bulls have several young linebackers that have been waiting in the wings, and will push for playing time. Junior Kion Wilson who enrolled this spring has the size and athleticism, to compete for job, but in no way is it a lock. Also, with the abundance of outside linebackers, the staff could slide senior Brouce Mompremier who had an impressive first season as starter at WILL over to the middle. The good thing is staff has choices, and this spring will gives us a good look at who will start this fall.

#5: Offensive Tackle
With last year's starting tackle Walter Walker now gone, the left and right tackle spot are wide open this spring. One spot will be filled by Senior Marc Dile who is the most experienced lineman and started all of last year mostly on the left but played on the right when Walker went down. The big question is who will start on the other side of the line. The Bulls have a stable of young lineman and several got valuable playing experience last year. There's been talk of senior guard Ryan Schmidt sliding over and has the advantage in terms of experience, and he has a mean streak but is he mean enough to lock the position down? This spring will also be our first hard look at the promising '07 redshirts the staff is extremely high on. The Bulls definitely have youth and talent on their side, but with a young team comes lack of game day experience.


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