The first two-a-day of fall practice went down yesterday in Vero Beach. I'm always freaked out about there being a higher chance of guys getting hurt on these days, but it looks like everyone made it through pretty much OK, even with the first 11-on-11 work of the fall and even a quasi-scrimmage in the evening.
Today's roundup title comes courtesy of Skip Holtz, who was talking about my favoritest wide receiver ever, T.J. Knowles. Sure he's "only" 6'6" instead of 6'8" after the shrinkage took effect, but he's still a big target for whoever is throwing him the ball. He had a standout day, and after the evening practice we got this bit of gold from Skip:
"T.J. is just so tall. I told Coach Fitch, 'Throw the ball up there like a hand grenade and let him catch it'."
-- Speaking of gold, Greg Auman ventured into the bleachers at Holman Stadium, and well... there are some seats out there that haven't been used in a long, long time. I haven't seen that kind of unchecked plant growth since that "Life After People" series on the History Channel.
-- I've been remiss in not noticing the photo galleries of camp from USF's Rivals site. They have one for each day of practice in Vero Beach, and of course if you're a Rivals subscriber you can get a lot more.
-- Scott Carter has a story about B.J. Daniels taking extra care to avoid complacency. He probably has the safest starting position on the team, but complacency really shouldn't be an issue because he has to make one of the biggest transitions on the team - from being the do-everything player he was last year, to a pocket passer this year.
Bonus points for quarterbacks coach Peter Vaas bringing up Brett Favre's completion rate as the stat he used to help motivate Daniels, since his 53.7% completion rate was a distant fifth among the seven Big East QBs who threw at least 200 passes. (Adam Froman of Louisville just missed the 200-pass mark, but he would have also beaten Daniels.) Even Greg Paulus completed 67.7% of his passes, and he had a laughably bad game against the Bulls (five picks). I think the team only goes as far as Daniels can take them throwing the ball, because otherwise they'll struggle to run the ball too.
-- There was quite a bit of activity on the offensive line over the last couple of days. Scott caught most of it in one blog post, and chipped in a quick word about Quinterrious Eatmon filling in for the injured Jacob Sims in his end-of-day wrap.
-- With Colby Erskin again tearing his ACL, a spot on USF's roster came open, and today it was filled with walk-on wide receiver Justin Wilkins. Greg reminds us that Wilkins was also a walk-on on the 2008 Bulls.
-- As always, Skip met the press after the evening practice. He continues to be pleased with everyone's morale and he also mentioned how guys are holding each other up at the end of a play to make sure they aren't hitting the ground and exposing themselves to injury. That's mostly because they've been taught how to practice this way, but it might be part of having high morale - they're not pissed at each other and taking out their frustrations on teammates. Holtz also had some good words for Michael Lanaris, Jacquian Williams, and of course, T.J. Knowles. Throw the ball up there like a hand grenade and let him catch it.