Your USF Bulls took to the field yesterday for their first practice of the fall, braving the rain and showing some of the promise that has Bulls Nation thinking big.
It wasn’t just any field that the Bulls played on. To commemorate their 20th season, head coach Willie Taggart had his team walk out to the Sycamore Fields, or “Wesley Chapel” as some of the players called it, where it all began for the Bulls all those years ago.
“I was a little disappointed that the football gods didn’t work with me this morning,” Taggart said. “A lot of guys that helped build this program, guys that came before them that didn’t have thing the things they have. I just want them to appreciate all those things and all the people before them.”
On Wednesday night, Taggart showed the team video of the 1996 team practicing on those same fields and said the current squad has it easy, because they get to actually play a real game this year. He couldn't imagine scrimmaging and conditioning for a full year.
There were two different practice sessions Thursday. Because summer classes are finishing up, some players needed to get out earlier than others. The first session had mostly third- and fourth-string players on it except for current starting center Michael Galati, who Taggart assured us was only there because of scheduling.
Asiantii Woulard was the main quarterback for the first group. Despite looking like a QB in size, he didn’t stand out... but to be fair, his session was right in the middle of a downpour tht may have limited him and the team some.
With Galati in the early group, Cameron Ruff slid over to center and Jeremi Hall played guard, while the rest of the first team offensive line remained the same. Until the pads come out on Monday, though, judging the offensive and defensive lines will be nearly impossible.
Quinton Flowers and Brett Kean led the first and second teams, respectively. During the 7-on-7 drills, Flowers and Kean performed well, showing why they are the top two QB’s on the depth chart. Marlon Mack worked with Flowers and Kean on the side catching the ball, looking to add yet another dimension to his already menacing game.
Flowers will be spoiled for choice with receivers. Rodney Adams looked fast and comfortable in the slot while Ryshene Bronson had maybe the best day of the group. Despite missing all of spring practice, Bronson looked like he didn’t miss a beat. He made plays all over the field, capped off by reaching out to grab a fade pass in the end zone for a touchdown. He easily made his 6-foot-3 inch body closer to 7-foot when plucked the ball out of the air.
“Ryshene has fresh legs out here,” Taggart said. “He was disappointed he didn't play in the spring, competition always helps get guys going and he wants to get in that competition. We have high expectations for Ryshene.”
While 7-on-7 drills tend to favor the offense, cornerback’s Deatrick Nichols and Ronnie Hoggins made sure the offense had to earn everything they got. Nichols had a great first day, making plays all over the field including a couple of interceptions. And he made sure the offense knew it too. He had the entire defense jacked up and ready to play.
“The defense, Hoggins and Nichols, those guys were ready to play and were waiting for the ball to come so they could take it,” Flowers said.
Overall, it was a solid first day of practice for the team, and you can see how hungry this team is to live up to hype. This could be the year to do it.
- Freshman WR Darnell Solomon was out there today, despite word circulating that we wouldn’t see the freshman until Saturday.
- Class of 2017 athlete and best recruiter this side of Coach Willie Taggart himself, Bruce Judson Jr., was in attendance as well.
- Former USF stars DE George Selvie and OL Thor Jozwiak were among the alumni to show their support.