Backups ready to take over backfield

Darius Tice showed off his big-play ability Saturday when he caught a 43-yard touchdown pass for USF’s first score of the game. ORACLE PHOTO/JACKIE BENITEZ

As a matchup with Northern Illinois on Saturday looms, it appears the Bulls could be without one of the most prolific rushers in program history.

Junior running back Marlon Mack, who only needs 290 yards to surpass Andre Hall as USF’s all-time leading rusher, left Saturday’s win against Towson with a concussion early in the second quarter. Coach Willie Taggart later confirmed that Mack is going through concussion protocol.

At Wednesday’s practice, Mack was seen in a red non-contact jersey, with backups Darius Tice and D’Ernest Johnson splitting the majority of snaps with the first team.

“It’s a great opportunity,” Tice said. “Mack has been practicing, but if we have to carry it alone, we’ll be OK because we’re a three-headed monster. If one can’t finish, that’s what we’re here for.”


Back to Basics

Following a season in which the Bulls were 14th in the nation in turnover margin (+10), USF forced four turnovers Saturday to pick up right where they left off.

After his first game at the helm of the “Bull Sharks,” defensive coordinator Raymond Woodie said improvements can continue to be made to an already productive squad by just getting back to fundamentals.

“I see us continuously getting better,” Woodie said. “But we have to work on the basic fundamentals and techniques of football, and not get away from that. Because when you get away from that, now it’s all about schemes and you don’t really see the improvement you want to see from week to week.”


Selvie Returns Home

Former USF great and NFL free agent defensive end George Selvie attended Wednesday’s practice to encourage current Bulls while checking in to see firsthand what may be one of the most talented teams USF has had since Selvie’s ’07 team rose to No. 2 in the nation.

For current Bulls like Johnson, seeing alumni like Selvie return is added motivation to cement a legacy at USF and beyond.

“It’s great to see them boys come back and support us,” Johnson said. “It’s always good just to see them back. Once I make it to the NFL, I want to come back and support the Bulls.”