Spring practice begins this week 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: Allen Mogridge
Key departures: NA
Key returnees: LT Donovan Jennings (33 career starts); LG Demetris Harris (41), C Brad Cecil (36); RG Dustyn Hall (12); RT Demontrey Jacobs (11); RT Josh Blanchard (6)
Key additions: C. Florida transfer Mike Lofton (3 career starts); Virginia Tech transfer Derrell Bailey (1)
No single position unit will benefit more from the extra year of eligibility more than the 2022 offensive line. Four of the five returning starters should not be playing college football anymore, but the Bulls caught a major break by being able to return those four contributors.
USF gave up just 25 sacks last season. It’s the fewest sacks given up since Quinton Flowers’ senior season in 2017. Yes, having a mobile QB like Timmy McClain will help those numbers, but it was pretty clear the offensive line looked more cohesive in 2021 than in previous season.
RG Dustyn Hall proved to be a key cog in the middle once he was inserted into the lineup, and with three more years of eligibility remaining, he should be a mainstay for the next few years.
The Bulls ran the ball well in spurts in 2021, highlighted by a USF single-game record of 421 yards on the ground versus Temple. But, they struggled (like the rest of the team did) to run the ball well in November. USF ran the ball 44 times for just 90 yards on Black Friday.
Head coach Jeff Scott and OL coach Allen Mogridge wasted little time shoring up the line by bringing in former C. Florida OL Mike Lofton, and Virginia Tech OL Derrell Bailey to push the starters for playing time. Both have starts at the college level, and maybe more importantly—have gone through a college weight lifting program.
USF still has the likes of Sebastian Sainterling (11 career games), Cesar Reyes (2), Uriah Greene (2) to provide depth behind the starters. But, this is the one unit you shouldn’t expect too much shakeup barring an injury.