Oracle insight: Keys to the first spring scrimmage

Tomorrow, the USF football team will line up for its first scrimmage of the season, providing the first glimpse of the 2012 Bulls. While the scrimmage is closed to fans, it will be open to the media. The Oracle notes the top three things well learn from the first of three spring scrimmages.

1) How the defense is progressing

The game will provide an in-depth look at how first-year defensive coordinator Chris Cosh is guiding his unit against an offense in a semi-competitive atmosphere.

By all accounts, the transition from former coordinator Mark Snyder to Cosh has been smooth, with the Bulls running their same system from years past rather than learning Coshs own style. Still, its worth keeping an eye on how effective the Bulls will be against their own offense.

2) The backup running back spot

The starting running back position is expected to go to senior Demetris Murray, by far the most experienced of the Bulls backs. Behind Murray, there is a group of available backs with no clear-cut favorite to earn the backup roles.

Marcus Shaw has been getting most of the reps with the second offense, but faces challenges from Willie Davis, Michael Pierre and former wide receiver Lindsey Lamar. USF split time nearly evenly between its top two backs last season, so the winner of this battle will be a significant contributor.

3) Starting cornerback position

The secondary is a position of relative comfort for the Bulls, but there is stiff competition for the second starting cornerback position. Senior Kayvon Webster is all but assured to earn the top cornerback spot, but the battle to line up opposite him is wide open.

Junior college newcomers Joshua Brown and Fidel Montgomery are competing against redshirt freshman Kenneth Durden for the spot atop the depth chart. Strangely, none of them may win, as freshman Chris Bivins Jr. is sidelined this spring with an ACL injury but will join the competition in the fall.