USF held its first scrimmage of the spring Saturday, with coach Skip Holtz, in his first year, getting a better idea of where his depth stands.
The Bulls ran 131 plays in front of a crowd of about 700 season-ticket holders who were invited to come and watch the scrimmage for free, and Holtz said he will have a preliminary two-deep depth chart ready today.
“I am a lot happier now than I was before (Saturday) started,” Holtz said. “It is great to get all of this on film so my coaching staff and I can further evaluate where we are as a team. It was a very sloppy game with a lot of penalties and turnovers, but that is expected this time of year.”
Holtz said the team jumped offsides several times and committed a few turnovers and bad snaps.
“I thought our effort was great today, as everyone played hard,” said senior Sabbath Joseph, who started last season at outside linebacker. “But I wasn’t happy with all the penalties and missed tackles. We cannot commit that many penalties and miss so many tackles if we are going to be successful. But the good news is that we have five months to improve before we start playing games that count.”
Holtz said with the first scrimmage in the books, a tentative depth chart is starting to take shape, but his coaching staff still has evaluations to do.
“In the past, I have liked to do three scrimmages at the end of spring, but I felt it was necessary to do one in the middle so we can establish a depth chart and grade all of our players,” he said. “With practices like these, our players can see where they are mentally and understand what they need to do to adjust.”
Sophomore quarterback B.J. Daniels missed the first half of the scrimmage to spend time with his roommate, who was involved in a serious car accident Friday night and is in critical condition. Daniels spent the night at the hospital with his roommate’s family. He arrived midway through the scrimmage and took a number of snaps.
Daniels’ highlight, Holtz said, was a 40-yard strike across the middle to redshirt freshman tight end Isaac Virgin.
“I told B.J. (Daniels) that it was totally up to him whether or not he wanted to play,” Holtz said. “For a 19-year-old to … deal with his roommate and close friend going through something like that is really tough, and we are all hoping and praying for the best. But I thought he made some nice throws (Saturday) and looked pretty good overall.”
Daniels also found sophomore receiver Victor Marc for a touchdown, while sophomore running back Demetris Murray scored the game’s only rushing touchdown. Sophomore quarterback Ryan Eppes took all the snaps during the first half of the scrimmage. Most were handoffs, Holtz said.
“With Daniels not playing, the whole first half was a running game,” Holtz said. “We were able to get a taste of what Rutgers, Pittsburgh and Connecticut like to do with all the running that took place, but I was happy with the effort from our running backs, as well as our offensive and defensive linemen.”
Eppes, USF’s No. 2 quarterback at the moment, received some much-needed experience, Holtz said.
“Eppes got an awful lot of work (Saturday) and did some good things,” Holtz said. “He needs to work on a lot, such as his checks, and he really has to learn how to command an offense.
“(Eppes) has to get himself to where we can with him, and I don’t expect him to be ready today, but he needs to be much more consistent if he is going to lead this team into a game.”
RB Samuels, OL McGhin injured
Senior running back Aston Samuels injured his ankle, which could require surgery, and redshirt freshman offensive lineman John McGhin suffered a minor concussion during the scrimmage.
“Outside of that, (there were) slight bumps and bruises,” Holtz said. “If you could get 131 scrimmage plays like we did (Saturday) and only come out with a couple minor injuries – if that’s all they are – then I think it was an extremely productive day. We need every scrimmage rep we can get between now and the first game.”
Discus thrower breaks own school record
Sophomore Jared Thomas broke his own USF track and field record in the discus, throwing 193-6 at the FSU Relays on Saturday.
Thomas threw 185-4 last week at the Bulls Invitational in Tampa and 182-3 in USF’s first meet of the 2010 season, both school records at the time. Thomas threw 181-2 as a freshman, which was also a school record at the time.
USF won 4-1 in the first game of a doubleheader against Cornell on Saturday behind freshman pitcher Lindsey Richardson.
Richardson gave up an earned run and struck out six in 6 1/3 innings. The Bulls (15-16) dropped the nightcap 4-3 in 11 innings. USF hosts Seton Hall to open Big East play Friday.
– additional reporting by Phil Neary