USF coach Skip Holtz said he hoped for a more energetic practice Tuesday, but he understood what his team was going through.
“I’ve never had a real good first day of practice with school,” Holtz said. “… Right now, they have a lot going on … picking up their books, finding their classes, doing all those types of things. They came out here and worked today, just didn’t have the type of energy and passion I would have liked to have.”
“They’re tired,” he said. “Everybody’s back on campus. There’s a lot more going on all of a sudden … They’re probably not going to bed real early. They’re sitting in class all day … you just have to learn how to balance it … it’s a grind on the first day of school.”
With Monday’s start of the fall semester, the team had a day off to regroup after 18 straight practices, including two weeks in Vero Beach.
Quarterback B.J. Daniels described the team’s latest practice as “flat,” but he acknowledged the Bulls’ continued improvement on offense during Saturday’s scrimmage.
“We came out a little flat,” he said. “… We still have a long way to go … Right now, we’re just trying to patch things up we already know … We were able to sustain drives (in Saturday’s scrimmage).”
The Bulls open the season Sept. 4 at home against Stony Brook.
Edge for walk-on QB?
Freshmen Bobby Eveld (walk-on) and Jamius Gunsby have been neck-and-neck in the race for backup quarterback, but Holtz said with Gunsby still nursing a hip flexor, he would likely lean toward Eveld right now.
“I don’t know that it’s pretty clear, but since Gunsby didn’t go Sunday, didn’t go (Tuesday) – three or four days of work is huge for a freshman quarterback. Right now, I’d go with Bobby Eveld,” Holtz said Tuesday.
Gunsby was injured in Saturday’s scrimmage. The injury is considered day-to-day, Holtz said.
Five freshmen stand out
Holtz said Tuesday he’s looking to have at least five freshmen forgo a redshirt, mentioning OL Quinterrius Eatmon, CB Terrence Mitchell, S Mark Joyce, Eveld, and WR Deonte Welch as the strongest candidates.
Holtz said he’s looking for 15 to 20 plays a game from each.
“If they can do that, they’ve come a long way,” Holtz said. “… I don’t think any of those five are ready to play today, but what you’ve got to look at is five weeks into the season when you’re getting into conference play. Can those guys get into the rotation and really help you? I believe those five can. That’s a decision we’re trying to make right now.”
Senior linebacker Sabbath Joseph (concussion) wasn’t in pads Tuesday, but Holtz said he is day-to-day … He said the team will be in full pads today before practicing in shorts Thursday … The team has its third and final scrimmage scheduled for Friday.
“That’ll be kind of our dry run from a game standpoint,” Holtz said.