In most early spring scrimmages, the defense is usually closer to game-ready than the offense. USFs was no different, with the defensive unit excelling Friday against a behind-the-pace offense.
The scrimmage was more about evaluating personnel than scoring, anyway, with the springs first depth chart set to be released later today, so it was not played in traditional football style.
One offense (first-, second- or third-string) would line up against one defense (first-, second- or third-string) at a yard line of coach Skip Holtzs choosing and have eight plays to advance as far as it could before the situation was reset with new players.
Two touchdowns were scored from that full-field setup, a 38-yard pass from Bobby Eveld to Chris Dunkley and a 52-yard connection from B.J. Daniels to Andre Davis, who promptly ran to give his mother a kiss behind the end zone, drawing a warning from his coach.
Im OK with that, especially at practice, Holtz said. I dont want to see him run up in the stands on game day because we may get a flag, but today it was OK.
For most of the morning, the defense shined, especially defensive back JaQuez Jenkins, who caught an interception and could have gotten two more.
It should have been three, but, unfortunately, I dropped two, Jenkins said. Next time, its going to be three. I will make sure not to drop any more interceptions.
Jenkins, who split time between safety and third cornerback last season, provides another option for a secondary that needs to replace starters in Quenton Washington and Jerrell Young.
Ive really been impressed with Jenkins, Holtz said. He gives us that free safety we havent had here; tall, lanky, athletic, can cover a lot of ground at the safety position. He had a great interception early in the scrimmage. I think thats one of the things weve missed. I think hes opening a lot of peoples eyes.
While the defense dominated play in the open field, the offense took control during the last period of the scrimmage, when the team ran first-and-goal from the six-yard line scoring situations.
Four running backs Marcus Shaw, Willie Davis, Demetris Murray (receiving) and Bradley Battles each scored from the short yardage situation.
All of the running backs ran hard, Daniels said. I was really impressed with that.
The Bulls are back at practice this morning, after meeting with the coaches and being told their places on the depth chart.