TAMPA -- Some practice observations ...
Don't expect too much deep analysis here. The media was allowed to watch the first 30 minutes, which consisted of some running and jogging, some skeleton pass and defense drills and field goal units. There was no contact during that window, though it was good to see a Big East team on the field in pads for the first time this spring. And one thing hasn't changed: The Bulls still pass the eyeball test just standing around in their uniforms.
It's impossible to miss B.J. Daniels in practice. The quarterback is wearing a bright red jersey that really stands out against the rest of the team's green and white tops. It was either that or a protective halo around him, I suppose. And during stretching, several coaches stopped by to check on Daniels to see how he was doing. There's no doubt the quarterback is the franchise.
Speaking of which, Daniels threw along with walk-on quarterbacks Glenn Fagan and Eric Johnson, who are both new to the program. It has to be a strange time for the receivers, as the walk-ons deliver wobbly ducks and Daniels throws bullets. Daniels and his receivers were out of sync much of the time I watched them Monday. Remember, they're all learning new routes and a new offense, and this was only the fourth spring practice. South Florida has a lot of wideouts. But who is going to emerge as the go-to receiver on this team? That's a big question.
Depth won't be a problem for the offensive line. It looks like there are lot of capable big bodies.
It was hard to gauge much of anything about the defense as there was no contact during the viewing period. Junior-college transfer Claude Davis has an impressive frame and seems to run well. The most impressive player on defensive was Jason Pierre-Paul. He's working out with the team as he gets ready for the NFL draft, going through their drills in shorts and a T-shirt.
Good to see Maikon Bonani back and kicking in practice. He looks like he's bulked up a little, too. The Bulls had two field goal units going at the same time, one located about 10 yards diagonally across from the other. I guess you never know when you need to practice running a double field-goal attempt.
It's definitely a new era at South Florida. At one point, Skip Holtz came over to talk to a few people on the sidelines and started chatting about the upcoming Big East track meet, which will include a couple of his players. Jim Leavitt would have ripped somebody's head off if they tried to converse with him during practice.
Initial, knee-jerk reaction of questionable value: This team has a lot of talent, as usual, but it's awfully young and has a lot of work to do to pick up the new system. That makes me wonder if the Bulls can contend for the Big East title in 2010. But it's only March 22.
I'm heading back to for some post-practice interviews and will chat with the coordinators tomorrow. Look for some South Florida stories to be sprinkled in on the blog in the next several days.