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New season, new levels of expectation

After USF took the field Saturday for its first spring scrimmage, coaches and players agreed that expectations for this year’s team have surpassed last year’s standards.

Even so, the Bulls are far from satisfied.

“(I’m) pleased with effort and pleased with the physical nature of it all, (but) very rusty when you look at the big picture,” coach Skip Holtz said of the scrimmage, which ran about 170 plays. “But I thought the attitude was great.”

Players on both sides of the ball pointed to areas that need improvement, but most gave the nod to the defense for bringing the most energy.

“Defense did a heck of a job, with guys flying around, pretty much picking up where they left off last year – being stingy,” said junior running back Demetris Murray.

Yet, defensive coordinator Mark Snyder wasn’t as quick to call the scrimmage a defensive success.

“The tackling (is) not where it needs to be. We’ve got a ways to go,” he said. “It’s about expectation and raising the bar, and we are going to push to that standard.”

Snyder lauded the defense’s overall execution, but emphasized a need to improve tackling. On the other side of the ball, quarterback B.J. Daniels said he admired his team’s enthusiasm to get out and play, but said the offense fell short.

Holtz described the outing as a “personnel scrimmage” to evaluate first-, second- and third-string players. The first-string players ran 50 plays, with second- and third-stringers running 60 plays each, a sample size Holtz said is large enough to form the depth chart.

Holtz said he and his staff will evaluate the film and establish an initial depth chart, which will be released sometime this week.

When asked who stood out during the scrimmage, Holtz named running back Darrell Scott, safety Reshard Cliett and offensive lineman Quinterrius Eatmon. Wide receiver Sterling Griffin slowly worked his way into the offense after missing all of last year with a torn ACL.

Wide receiver A.J. Love also missed last season for the same injury and sat out of the scrimmage.

The Bulls play their annual Spring Game at Raymond James Stadium on Saturday at 2 p.m.