I had a chance to catch up with USF offensive coordinator Todd Fitch this week to get his thoughts on quarterback B.J. Daniels for a blog post coming next week. But our conversation was not only about Daniels.
Fitch talked on a variety of subjects concerning the Bulls offense. Here is a little of what he had to say.
Daniels is the guaranteed incumbent, but is the backup position up for grabs? Bobby Eveld returns, but he was not as consistent last season as he was in 2010, when he played much better in relief of an injured Daniels. Fitch expects Matt Floyd to really push Eveld this spring. "The best thing will be the competition Matt Floyd brings," Fitch said. "We made the decision to redshirt Matt Floyd, get him a year of maturity. Competition makes us all better, so I think there will be a heck of a battle for that position."
Those are the three scholarship quarterbacks the Bulls have on the roster. Fitch said he has spoken to all three about putting more time into the film room this offseason. "They're all smart guys, but they need to be a little more like gym rats," Fitch said. "They all need to put a little more time into the study room by themselves. We can only do so much in that block of time we have as a coach."
Receiver is a position with talent and what appears to be some depth, with everybody returning but A.J. Love. Terrence Mitchell has been cleared to practice this spring after sitting out a good chunk of last season with a concussion. Factor in Florida transfer Chris Dunkley, and you have the makings of a solid group. "We have a lot of options," Fitch said. "The biggest thing for us is to get them all competing every day. As coaches, we have to get them in the right spots and get them touches because they all have different talents."
As for Dunkley, the key is going to be bringing him along slowly and making him feel comfortable, so that he doesn't press to make a quick impression. "Any time you get a transfer like that or a high level recruit, everybody wants to see the finished product when he hits the field," Fitch said. "But there's going to be some growing pains, and we want to bring him along slowly so that when we hit fall camp, he's there full speed."
At running back, USF loses Darrell Scott but returns a veteran in Demetris Murray. One player to watch is Marcus Shaw, whom Fitch is counting on to make big plays this season. "He has a pretty good package, he has some explosiveness, the ability to make you miss," Fitch said. "He's matured off the field as this thing's developed. I look for him to have a really good spring." Also watch for redshirt freshman Willie Davis. "He has a lot of the same characteristics as Demetris, maybe a step quicker in the hole," Fitch said. "So it will be interested to see how he takes off."
USF loses two starters on the offensive line in center Chaz Hine and guard Jeremiah Warren. The Bulls will have battles at each position. Austin Reiter and Thor Jozwiak will get first crack at center; Brynjar Gudmundsson and junior college transfer Lawrence Martin will get first crack at guard. Fitch says between left guard and center, USF has between six and seven players to choose from to start.
Tight end also has some depth with Andreas Shields and Evan Landi returning, along with Florida transfer Michael McFarland and Isaac Virgin as well. Virgin will be blended into the H-back role that Landi plays. McFarland has great size (6-foot-5), but coaches still want to see more growth from him to go along with his talent.