Spring practice begins TODAY (!!!) so we will breakdown 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.
Position Coach: Kerwin Bell (First year at USF)
Key Losses: Brett Kean (40/71, 333 yards, three TD in 17 career games), Chris Oladokun (23/45, 297 yards, three TD in eight career games)
Key Returners: Blake Barnett (214/350, 2,710 yards, 12 TD, 11 INT, 301 rush yards, eight rush TD in 2018)
Let’s first pour one out for Brett and Chris. After sitting behind the GOAT for three and two years, respectively, they were woefully utilized by former offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert to the point of ineffectiveness. It was no surprise they decided to transfer in the offseason. With Barnett firmly entrenched as the starter, Kean transferred to UNC-Charlotte, and Oladokun went to Samford. They will be missed on campus and on the team.
Senior starter Blake Barnett is on his fifth offensive coordinator in his college career spanning three different schools. Only this time, we think his OC is competent enough to use his skills and the skills of the other players around him in the proper way.
Barnett started off his USF career with a bang, throwing for 305 yards and three scores in the season opener versus Elon, then he followed it up with a 411-yard passing day at Illinois. Right around that time, opposing teams had enough film on the Bulls’ vanilla playcalling to slow him, and the offense down.
A shoulder injury versus Tulane forced him to miss the next week at Cincinnati, then he suffered a gruesome looking leg injury at Temple that held him out of the C. game on Black Friday. He made his return to the field in the Gasparilla Bowl against Marshall, but he did not take a snap at practice for the two weeks leading up to the game, and the rust showed.
Barnett will have the benefit of spring practice which he didn’t have last year, and although it’s a new offensive system, offensive quality control coach Kade Bell told The Daily Stampede the transition could be an easy one.
“The system is great because there’s no limit on what we can or do add, but simplistic enough for the players,” Bell said. “The great thing about this system is, once you get it, the players can literally teach it to each other because it makes sense.”
Kade started for four years under his father at Jacksonville University and was the offensive coordinator for Valdosta State last year and helped guide the Blazers to an undefeated season, a national championship, all while averaging 52 points per game.
Barnett won’t be short of talented skill guys around him. Running back Jordan Cronkrite is back (out for spring though), Johnny Ford is moving to slot receiver, all-conference tight end Mitchell Wilcox returns, and Michigan transfer Eddie McDoom is eligible to play. Throw in Stanley Clerveaux, PhD, MD, sophomore Zion Roland, and the eventual return of Terrence Horne, the Bulls offense should produce more like 2016 than the last two years.
“We want to get our playmakers in space to create explosive plays. We don’t want to go fast for no reason, because we are all about efficiency and scoring touchdowns,” Bell said.
With Kean and Oladokun gone, the Bulls will have to figure out which redshirt freshman—Jordan McCloud or Octavious Battle— will be QB2 for 2019. It should be noted, when Barnett was injured, McCloud traveled with the team as an emergency QB in case Barnett could not play.
“We just gotta work hard, stay healthy and put these guys in good situations to help them be successful,” Bell said of the new offense.
- With only three QB’s on the roster, Battle and McCloud should get plenty of reps in the new offense and for my money, this is the position battle I’m most excited to watch.