I'm a big fan of Coach Holtz and the football team leaving Tampa and holding fall camp in a secluded location. Not only does it keep distractions at a minimum, but it serves as a crash course for the incoming freshmen to find out how the team goes about practices and to learn their shiny new playbook.
While the purpose of last year's camp was to unite the team after Coach Jim Leavitt's firing and build a rapport between the coaches and players, this year the focus will be finding the depth necessary to compete in the Big East.
While there are a few position battles that are up for grabs (running back, 5th offensive lineman, SAM linebacker, Punter), most of the starters are penciled in and ready to go. The big question is who will be the guys who can rotate in without a drop in the level of play.
One great example of having the depth necessary to compete is at quarterback. There is no doubt that B.J. Daniels will be the starter come September 3rd. But having an experienced backup like Bobby Eveld gives Coach Holtz the opportunity open up the playbook a little more and use Daniels on designed runs, or let him scramble more.
There are a few positions where depth is more than an issue, and it might force Skip to burn a couple of redshirts this season.
On offense Skip has to be losing a little bit of sleep at FB and OT. Converted linebacker/special teams ace Armando Sanchez and walk-ons Chris Breit and Justin Wilcox are the only fullbacks listed on the roster. While someone like Isaac Virgin could step in as an H-back, an injury to Sanchez could be a big blow to the running game this year.
As I see it right now, Skip only has two tackles on the roster that he can count on right now in Mark Popek and Quinterrius Eatmon. After that, Skip has guys like Damien Edwards and Darren Powe who have been on campus for a while but have either moved around or have been leapfrogged by other players. Incoming freshmen Max Lang, Brynjar Gudmundsson, and Thor Joswiak all have an opportunity to dress if they can impress with a solid camp in Vero.
Defensively, the only big holes I can see are at defensive tackle and cornerback. After Keith McCaskill and Cory Grissom, there is a big hole behind them and someone will have to step up and fill the void. Luke Sager, Todd Chandler, and Demi Thompson have seen little, if any significant playing time in their careers. Incoming freshmen Elkino Watson and Marquis White could help out immediately with a good camp, but Holtz has to find two players out of those five to feel confident on USF's chances this year.
Finally, while Kayvon Webster and Quenton Washington are a solid duo, everyone else not named George Baker is a question mark. Walk-on Ernie Tabuteau is the fourth corner at the moment, but right now he's "drinking through a fire hose" (to borrow a Holtzism) trying to get ready for the season. With Spencer Boyd and Ricardo Dixon still plagued by injuries and Tyson Butler's ineffectiveness, Kenneth Durden has a great shot to play as a true freshman. Skip has already called out Durden's strong play after practice, and you just might see Kenneth crack the two-deep by the time everyone returns to Tampa.
Are there any other concerns you have for the team as we get ready for the season? Let us know in the comments.