WHAT: USF Football Spring Game
WHEN: 4:00 p.m.
WHERE: Corbett Soccer Stadium (free admission)
TV/RADIO: WWBA/820 AM. USF Football will stream the game live on their Facebook page if you can’t make it to the stadium.
This year’s spring game would have been highly anticipated anyway, with USF coming off an 11-2 season. Add in a new coaching staff and some wrinkles, if not wholesale changes, on both sides of the ball, and you have a very intriguing afternoon.
What will we be watching?
How does USF plan to replace Marlon Mack? The Bulls’ all-time leading rusher (for now) is off to the NFL. While D’Ernest Johnson should move up and nominally be USF’s starting running back, Darius Tice is back from his broken ankle for one more year, and Elijah Mack (no relation to Marlon) joins the rotation. There’s always speedster Trevon Sands around for a change of pace, too.
And how will USF run the ball? Will there be as many reads and options as there were in the Gulf Coast Offense? The Texas offense Sterlin Gilbert coordinated last year ran a lot more power than USF did. Great for the running backs, but USF’s best runner is Quinton Flowers. How many carries will be left over for him?
How does USF plan to replace Rodney Adams? The Bulls’ fastest player in 2016 may also be playing on Sundays this fall. Who moves into the slot? Chris Barr barely saw the field last year. Is Deangelo Antoine ready? Do they go in a different direction and put a bigger receiver in the slot, like Stanley Clerveaux? And will Adams’ replacement get the ball as many ways as Adams did, or will they be strictly a pass receiver?
Is USF going to be able to play any defense this year? The Bulls can’t be much worse on that side of the ball than last year, when they gave up over 411 points and stayed on the field for an unbelievable 1077 snaps. New defensive coordinator Brian Jean-Mary seems intent on bringing the heat a lot this season. Can he find enough players who are already on the roster to put together a respectable unit this year? There’s not too much concern about the secondary, where virtually everyone is back. But the front six was a shambles last year, which had a cascade effect on the rest of the unit.
Can USF’s offensive line keep humming along? The O-line was the only unit that lost more than one starter from last year, with Dominique Threatt and Kofi Amichia graduating. This was a huge part of the Bulls’ success on offense the last two years, and Willie Taggart did a very good job stocking it with talent. The key will be avoiding too much interruption with new starters.