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Bulls Offense Wraps Up Day Three of Fall Practice on High Note

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After getting Summer B classes out of the way, the Bulls completed their first full squad practice Saturday.

Marlon Mack
Gousfbulls.com

The defense ended practice yesterday on an interception by safety Devin Abraham, but today quarterback Quinton Flowers was able to exact some revenge. He made a couple guys miss and outran Tajee Fullwood to the end zone for a 40-yard touchdown.

“I thought the entire defense played well until that last play of practice,” head coach Willie Taggart said. “They came out with a lot of energy, with a sense of purpose... Our defense looked ticked off at our offense [with] the offense getting all the credit in the offseason.”

Practice Summary:

The big news of the day:

Mayes, a sophomore, will start out at right tackle to get his feet wet in the new position. It’s not really a knock on Mayes, but with Kevin Bronson, Bruce Hector and Deadrin Senat in the mix, getting playing time at defensive tackle would be a problem for him. Throw in Daniel Awoleke with his experience, and there wasn’t much Mayes could do.

“Our depth at D-tackle is pretty good, but we think Eric can really help us on that side of the football,” Taggart said. “He’s very talented, very athletic to be 290 pounds. We think he can be really good at offensive tackle for us.”

Cornerback Ronnie Hoggins sat out most of the practice after bumping knees with someone yesterday. Taggart said it’s just a knee contusion and that he will be fine. Jalen Spencer filled in for Hoggins at cornerback and had a good day, intercepting a pass during drills.

“Jalen is one of our better athletes in the secondary. Unfortunately he’s been bitten with the injury bug a lot since he’s been here, but he is a talented kid and we think he can help this football team,” Taggart said.

Fellow cornerback Deatrick Nichols hurt his finger yesterday during practice, but taped it up and kept playing. Today he was wearing gloves plus tape to try to protect the finger a bit more. He did hurt it again today on this play and sat out for a bit, but did return.

It’s throws like that from QB Asiantii Woulard that make you think “Why on earth isn’t he starting?” while Flowers is struggling with short to intermediate passes. But Flowers has a firm grip on the quarterback job, and it really seems like Woulard may not get many meaningful snaps for awhile.

Running backs coach Donte Pimpleton was pleased with the hard work his group did in the offseason in the weight room getting stronger and have more explosive speed and power. He also said that they need to finish their runs better than they have in the past.

“Marlon (Mack) is a fast guy (and) makes people miss, but I’m trying to get him to the point where he can run through tackles and break tackles, and I think that will take his game to the next level,” Pimpleton said.

Pimpleton added that Mack is the best back he has coached, and that he keeps himself grounded and humble.

Mack is 309 yards away from breaking former Bulls running back Andre Hall’s career rushing record of 2,731 yards. He comes into the season with high expectations after being named to the Maxwell, Walter Camp and Doak Walker watch lists, but he isn’t worried about that.

“It comes to my mind, but I don’t try to think about it too much,” Mack said. “I just want to win for USF and win the AAC. That’s what our focus is.”

Mack focused on catching and blocking in the offseason and is working hard to become a complete back. He toned up his body and got stronger as well — he’s now squatting 505 pounds — and he said it’s an “amazing difference” from his first two years.

First-team offense for 11v11:

First-team defense for 11v11:

Noteworthy:

  • Kicking and punting are going to be an adventure this year. Punter Brett Gordon had some very short kicks, and he had another one blocked. Delbert Alvarado isn’t walking through that door.
  • D’Ernest Johnson changed his number to #2, his high school number. “The Deuce is loose,” Johnson said, laughing. He tried to get the number from former QB Steven Bench last year but Taggart said he had to ‘#DoSomething’ to get the jersey.
  • RB Darius Tice, who changed his number to #13, is happy for Johnson and Mack, and he says the pair keep telling him, “it’s your turn this year.”
  • Taggart said WR Rodney Adams is the only guy that has solidified his spot as a starter among the group.
  • Taggart won’t think about redshirting freshman WR Darnell Solomon until he shows he isn’t ready to play. “We recruited Darnell to come here and take somebody’s job.”
  • Nice day for WR Stanley Clerveaux, who has battled some tough injuries.