The South Florida Bulls held their annual spring game on Saturday at Raymond James Stadium in front of fans who saw the Green Team, led by linebackers coach Ernie Sims get the win over Allen Mogridge’s White Team 31-21.
The score doesn’t matter, outside of a nice dinner and bragging rights for the winning team, but the play on the field matters just a little bit more, and it’s safe to say the quarterbacks stole the show. Let’s dig into some spring game observations.
It’s Cade Fortin’s World, and We’re Just Living in it.
The UNC transfer looked impressive for the Green Team as he led three scoring drives in his half of action.
Fortin started the game off with a dot (but how that TikTok Madden guy says dot) to wide receiver Xavier Weaver for 50 yards, and it only got better from there. Fortin found WR Bryce Miller for 18 yards on third and ten to get the Green Team down to the White seven yard line, and two plays later found Weaver again on a slant for the seven-yard score.
Fortin ended his day 14-for-23 for 224 yards, two touchdowns, and added 24 yards on the ground. While Scott said after the game that fall camp would be the “fourth quarter” of the QB competition, you’d be hard pressed to say Fortin isn’t QB1 right now after spring. He just needs to stay healthy, and SLIDE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
On the Green Team’s next possession, Fortin found Weaver again on a back shoulder fade, and Weaver broke two tackles, got some blocks, and ran into the end zone for a 40-yard touchdown to give Green a 14-0 lead.
Miami transfer Jarren Williams had a tough go of things during his half of play as he missed some open receivers early, and didn’t seem like he settled down. But, he did lead a fantastic scoring drive with 57 seconds left in the half to get the White Team on the board.
Williams found walk-on Sean Atkins—who also threw for 38 yards—for 30 yards, and followed that up with a 20-yard gain to Sincere Brown to set up a 4th and goal from the 3-yard line.
Williams rolled out right, and connected with WR Omarion Dollison for the touchdown. It was nice to see Williams find a groove late. Williams finished 9-for-19 for 98 yards and a touchdown.
Timmy McClain SZN and Katravis Marsh Didn’t Disappoint
True freshman Timmy McClain started his USF career with a bang as he led an 11-play, 74 yard scoring drive to open the second half, and capped it off himself with a three-yard rushing touchdown.
The lefty finished the day 8-for-13 for 117 yards, a touchdown, and rushed for 30 yards and a score. McClain showed polish and zip on downfield passes you don’t usually see from true freshmen QBs. He’s the future of USF football, and it’s no surprise he’s wearing number 9.
Not to be outdone, Katravis Marsh had himself a day as well as he led two scoring drives for the Green Team. He rushed for a score as well. He finished the day 4-for-6 for 125 yards.
We saw limited action from Marsh in 2020 due to injuries, but the coaching staff raved about his big-time arm, and he did not let them down. Both McClain and Marsh can push the ball down the field, something that was sorely missed in last year.
This is the best spot USF has been in at QB since 2017. Once you find a QB, everything else seems to settle down, and figure itself out.
[Again, it’s only the spring game, but hot damn, this is fun!]
Xavier Weaver is a stud
The coaching staff said Weaver was the guy who made “The Leap” this spring, and he proved it in spades on Saturday. He finished with three catches for 97 yards, and two touchdowns as we previously mentioned.
Add him to the trio of Latrell Williams (DNP due to injury), Omarion Dollison (5 catches, 47 yards, two TD), and Bryce Miller (3 catches, 101 yards. Tweaked right ankle in second half), and you’re finally starting to see a formidable receiver room who can make plays.
Too Many Missing Pieces On Defense to Judge
The Bulls had just eight defensive linemen suit up on Saturday between the two teams so it’s tough to truly gauge how the defense did when so many key contributors were held out.
The one bright spot was DL Rashawn Yates who finished with two sacks, and a fumble recovery for the Bulls. DE Jason Vaughn also recorded a strip-sack that DT Blake Green recovered.
Linebackers Demaurez Bellamy, and Antonio Grier were held out all spring due to off-season surgery. DT’s Kevin Kegler, and Tyrone Barber were also out. Starting cornerback Daquan Evans also didn’t play.
We expect the defense to improve, and there were definite signs on Saturday.
When Does Fall Camp Start?!?!?
Overall, it was a successful spring, and spring game for the Bulls. The quarterbacks won’t be a complete tire fire, the receivers show promise, and there are legitimate pieces on the defense.
Probably not, but 5-7 is a good goal to have this season.