USF football had one of the highest-scoring offenses in the nation last season, scoring at least 35 points in all but one of its 13 games in 2016.
With a new coaching staff in place for 2017, coach Charlie Strong is looking to build on the Bulls’ strengths as he tries to speed up the offense even more than it was last season.
“Offensively, we want to snap the ball fairly quickly and our whole goal is just to try and wear defenses down,” Strong said. “But you have to have a playmaker, and we have a playmaker at quarterback.”
Saturday, USF had its most extensive scrimmage of the spring at the Frank Morsani Football Complex, and quarterback Quinton Flowers and the offense had trouble adjusting to the new speed and finding a rhythm.
“I would say we came out sluggish today,” Flowers said. “We’ve got to pick it up. It’s a new offense, guys are still getting used to it. We had a couple of (missed assignments), but that’s what you practice for, to get better.”
The offense turned the ball over six times in the 90-minute scrimmage, with Flowers throwing four interceptions.
“I have to get my feet set,” Flowers said. “I feel like a lot of the things that I did, I didn’t have my feet set. Coach Gilbert has talked about it, and that’s where I got lost. Guys were running the right routes and the ball was sailing on them. Once he talked to me in the red zone, I came back and made a couple plays.”
One of the receivers who Flowers found for multiple scores on Saturday afternoon was sophomore Deangelo Antoine.
With a void created in the slot receiver position from the departure of Rodney Adams, the 5-foot-10, 185-pound Antoine could be a candidate to earn some of the available playing time.
“Deangelo had a really good day today,” Strong said. “To see him go and catch the football the way he caught it was really good. You want to see that because we need to find us a slot receiver, a guy who can make some plays.”
Though Strong kept the players going up-tempo for most of the afternoon, he was sure to take time to address mistakes when they were made.
A celebratory end-zone spike from tight end Mitchell Wilcox on a successful two-point conversion earned the sophomore a series of up-downs while he sat out plays.
Running backs Trevon Sands and Elijah Mack found themselves running laps around the practice fields as a result of their fumbles that ended drives.
The Bulls will have a chance to unveil their sped-up play style when they play in the Spring Game at Corbett Stadium on April 15.