If you missed any of our spring practice preview series check them out here:
Spring practice begins tomorrow so we’ve been breaking down each position group as we gear up for football season. Note: We will not guess on what impact freshmen who are not on campus yet will have on the team. Except for quarterback because #BattleHive.
Key Losses: LG Jeremi Hall (Appeared in 40 games with 25 starts, all in ‘16 and ‘17); C Cam Ruff (Appeared in 33 games with 26 starts)
Key Returners: LT Eric Mayes (Started all 12 games in 2017); RG William Atterbury (Appeared in 15 games with 10 starts over last two years); RT Marcus Norman (Appeared in 24 games with 21 starts over last two years); OL Brooks Larkin (Appeared in eight games in ‘16 and ‘17, very flexible); OL Grant Polk (Appeared in three games in ‘17); OL Michael Wiggs (Appeared in three games in ‘17) Jean Marcellus (Redshirted); OL Demetris Harris (Redshirted)
The offensive line has had a lot of turnover in the last two season so having to replace guys isn’t a huge deal. The people they have to replace, is.
Center Cam Ruff was a Remington Trophy Award watch lister prior to the start of the 2017 season, so naturally he played the first two games at right guard with Michael Galati starting at center.
It only took a scare from Stony Brook for the offensive coaches to rethink the starting lineup. Ruff moved back to center. Galati was relegated to the bench (and subsequently is no longer with the team) and backup right tackle William Atterbury slotted in at RG.
USF rushed for 376 yards in the next game against Illinois. Then 312 yards and four TD’s versus Temple and finally capped off the three-straight 300-yard rushing performances with 390 yards and five TD’s at ECU.
Ruff was a 2017 all-conference honorable mention, the 2016 team offensive lineman of the year, and he was also the co-president of the USF student-athlete advisory committee. Those are big shoes to fill for whomever takes the role.
Internet meme Brooks Larkin appears set to be Ruff’s replacement. He was listed as his backup for most of the season. Although, it’s entirely possible the starting center isn’t on the team during spring (Brad Cecil. Cough, cough)
Wiggs appeared destined for the starting RG job last season in fall camp before an injury took him out of the running and caused the coaches to have the brain fart mentioned above. He could be the LG now if he stays healthy and has a good camp.
Virginia transfer Grant Polk couldn’t beat out Eric Mayes for the starting LT position and we may be on Glen Bethal-like trajectory for Polk. Hyped when he got here, but never cracked the starting lineup.
Redshirt freshman Demetris Harris could also factor in somewhere along the line as a solid swing man. He was impressive in fall camp before a thumb injury took his season away.