Wearing just helmets, shoulder pads and shorts today, the USF football team practiced under an intense sun and sweltering heat Monday morning.
“It’s a tough grind right now. It’s hot out here, those guys are working, but I’m not gonna take it easy on them,” defensive line coach Eric Mathies said. “Evenutally we’ll get them battle tested out here at practice and they’re starting to figure it out.’
Mathis said it’s tough to replace the players they lost last year, like Eric Lee, James Hamilton, and Zach Bullock. But he thinks the new guys are doing well, in particular defensive end Kirk Livingstone.
“He was a redshirt last year and had a really good spring. He just hasn’t given (the starting job) up,” Mathis said. “The thing about Kirk is that he just does things right. He’s where he’s supposed to be, he’s in his gap, he’s playing the technique and guys who do that are going to be able to make plays.”
Mathis admitted today wasn’t their best day. He said they didn’t strive for greatness and he thinks the weather got to them today, which may have led them to give up plays that they hadn’t previously been giving up.
“They’re #Do(ing)Something. They have to do more, but they’re doing enough in practice to get themselves noticed on a consistent basis,” Mathies said. “You worry because there’s a number of guys who haven’t seen the bright lights at Ray Jay yet.”
Mathis said DE Vincent Jackson has been consistent in the “Bull” position. “He’s doing things you expected Josh (Black) to do when you recruited him,” Mathies said.
Black said he is healthy after battling a torn hamstring last year. He tries to be the first one in the building for treatment in the morning.
DT Kevin Bronson said the defensive line has great chemistry, even with some new guys coming into the fold.
The Bulls practice again tonight. It will be closed to the public.