As USF football inches closer to the August 26 showdown at San Jose St. they held their first full scrimmage of the fall at the Frank Morsani Football Complex under the never-ending Florida heat.
“We still have a lot of work to do, just too many penalties with false starts and the defense lining up offsides,” head coach Charlie Strong said. “We’re still three weeks out from our first game but it’s always about fundamentals and technique.”
For most of the scrimmage the defense held the offense in check from what we were told. But during the portion open to the media the offense continually beat the defense in red zone drills.
“I just told the guys when we’re in the red zone we have to score,” quarterback Quinton Flowers said. “We gotta take advantage of every opportunity we get in the red zone, even if it’s coming out with three [points].”
Freshman wide receiver Jernard Phillips scored a touchdown on a quick out, shaking out of a tackle from redshirt freshman linebacker Andre Polk. Senior running back Darius Tice looked very explosive on his runs, scoring once. Sophomore running back Trevon Sands also scored on a run up the middle after a bad snap to backup quarterback Brett Kean.
Freshman running back Duran Bell broke off a 70-yard run during the scrimmage and has shown that his track speed can translate to the football field.
“Duran has done a really good job. He has a really good skill set and the thing about him is he has speed and when you get speed and you get in the open field, it’ll be hard for guys to catch you,” Strong said.
Freshman wide receiver Kevaughn Dingle has caught the eye of Flowers through the first week of practice and has made “a lot of big plays.”
Strong said the offense isn’t at the speed they want to be at for the opening game but that’s mostly due to trying to fit the right pieces in with the offense and he said once they do that then they’ll really see the speed of the offense.
“We’re gonna pressure, we’re downhill. We’ve got some guys that are caring about it a little more and they’re ready to go,” linebacker Auggie Sanchez said about takeaways from the scrimmage today.
After missing all of spring practice recovering from shoulder surgery, Sanchez said that he’s a little sore from hitting for the last week but his shoulder feels good and ready to go.
“Our mentality switched. I think that’s definitely the biggest stride we’ve made. Once you believe in something and you got something to work for, you’re going out there to achieve it everyday,” Sanchez said. “You see a lot of guys caring a little more and coming out here working. Like I said, our mentality switched, we’ve got guys caring about it. We got expectations this year that people don’t have for us and we’re ready to go.”
“No, I don’t know where we are right now with that but I think it’s out there in the future,” Strong said about an Indoor Practice Facility after rain threw off their practice schedule this week.
- Eric Mayes was the first team left tackle during red zone drills and Grant Polk was the second team left tackle.
- WR’s Marquez Valdes-Scanting, Stanley Clerveaux and Darnell Salomon were all held out of practice today.
- Safety Tajee Fullwood was seen on crutches with his left ankle tapped up. Strong doesn’t think it’s too serious.
- DE’s Vincent Jackson Jr (left foot in walking boot) and Kirk Livingstone were also held out of practice.
- QB Chris Oladokun wasn’t suited up today either as he battles an undisclosed illness.