Spring Game highlights how close quarterback battle is

By Sam Newlon, Asst. Sports Editor
On April 15, 2018

ORACLE PHOTO / CHAVELI GUZMAN

Fans who were hoping to gain insight into who USF’s 2018 starting quarterback would be after Saturday’s Spring Game may be disapointed.

The position battle for the starting job seemed to get more competitive.

In identical performances, Brett Kean and Chris Oladokun each threw for 127 yards and two touchdowns in front of 3,452 fans at Corbett Stadium. 

“I think we both want the best for the team,” Kean said. “I think we’re both pushing each other and helping each other out. If I’m in and Chris sees something I didn’t, he’ll let me know and vice versa.”

After a full game, like the stat sheet read, neither quarterback stood out over the other. 

Kean lost 18 yards and was brought down for four sacks. Oladokun lost only three yards, but was sacked five times and threw the games only interception. 

Neither showed the shiftiness of former quarterback Quinton Flowers and both are clearly still adjusting to take on a bigger role on the team as fall approaches. 

“He (Flowers) takes some of (the pressure) off of us,” Kean said. “He’s constantly letting us know to be you guys. Coaches tell us, ‘Don’t try to be Quinton; don’t try to do anything too special.’”

None of the coaches offered any indication of who was leading in the position battle, but wide receiver Darnell Salomon knows that regardless of who the quarterback is in the fall, he has his own job to do.

“Our job is to catch the ball no matter who’s the quarterback,” Salomon said. “Both of them are good and both of them are competing.”

 

Wide receivers St. Felix and Roland are young, but ready

 

Randall St. Felix is a 6-foot-5, 205-pound wide receiver from Miami. He enters his first year of eligibility as a redshirt freshman this season.

On Saturday, he performed like a seasoned veteran.

He led all offensive players with four catches for 65 yards and a touchdown.

“St. Felix is a freshman we redshirted last year we knew that he had ability and for him to come out and make some plays,” coach Charlie Strong said. “He’s got some really strong hands and speed where he can get on top of the defenders and he can go up and catch the ball.”

St. Petersburg native Zion Roland, who was still enrolled in high school in December, complemented St. Felix’s offensive effort by catching four passes for 41 yards. 

“I thought he (Roland) looked really good,” Oladokun said. “It was really good to see him and his development over spring. You see him day one not knowing what to do, not knowing the plays, and then he comes out and makes catches, made some big plays.”

 

Defense shows it’s still steady for 2018

The Bulls lost defensive leaders Auggie Sanchez, Deatrick Nichols and Deadrin Senat to graduation last season, but the new defense showed in the first half Saturday they were ready to build off last season’s success.

“Honestly, I feel like we can be better,” cornerback Mazzi Wilkins said. “I feel like we can be as good as we want to be. We have all the guys with potential.”

Leading the Bulls on defense was defensive end Josh Black who finished with two-and-a-half sacks and four total tackles. 

“I think we brought tremendous pressure today,” Black said. “I think we can be real good, we’ve just got to keep coming out here and pouring everything we’ve got into it.”

Black, a Tampa native, started playing as a linebacker when he came to USF. This season, he is listed as a defensive end. Making the switch, Black says, is easy.

“Truthfully, I just try to come out here and play the best I can if they have me at either linebacker or D-end,” Black said. “I’ve played D-end since I was in high school, so I’m more comfortable at D-end than as a linebacker.”

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