Willie Taggart's South Florida Bulls just wrapped up their spring practice sessions with their annual Green and White Game taking place at Corbett Soccer Stadium on campus. In front of 4,418 fans, students, and alumni in attendance, the White team took an early commanding lead, defeating the Green squad 32-19.
With the rosters split down the middle, coaches not giving away too much of what they have planned for the fall, and freshmen/other players having yet to arrive on campus, the general rule is to not take away too much from the results of the spring game. However, there were a few things I noticed while roaming the sidelines during the contest.
Flowers In Full Control
Any notions of a potential starting QB controversy were dashed by Quinton Flowers on Saturday. To say that the junior looked poised and confident in his ability to run the Gulf Coast would be an understatement as he picked up where he left off at the end of last season leading the White team to victory. Going 15-22 for 129 yards through the air and picking up 45 yards on the ground, the white offense consistently moved down the field with Flowers in the game. The Miami native was able to elude defenders, make quick snap decisions, and effectively get the ball to weapons such as Darius Tice, Trevon Sands, A.J. Legree, Tyre McCants, and Mitchell Wilcox.
Three Four Headed Monster at RB
While Darius Tice shined for the White squad with eighty yards on the ground, the introduction of Trevon Sands to the Gulf Coast was interesting to see as the Southwest Miami alum got a lot of action early on, touching the ball sixteen times for fifty-seven yards on the day while also showing his ability to block at the line on screen plays. The 2015 signee from Miami finally arrived to campus this past January after being cleared academically and poses to be yet another weapon in an already talented stable of running backs.
Pace of Offense
It seems this offense is trying to become even faster. Both Flowers and Green team starter Asiantii Woulard were getting plays off within fifteen seconds, a pace that that opposing defenses could have problems adjusting to on the fly as evidenced with the Green defense's struggles at various times on Saturday. Believe it or not, that wasn't even fast enough according to A.J. Legree who said after the game "We could've had a better tempo."
McGee at Husky
Sophomore Khalid McGee looks to be replacing Jamie Byrd's spot at the Husky (third safety) position. McGee was able line up at the LOS for the green defense and make the most impact for that unit, racking up ten tackles and one TFL during the scrimmage. We will see his ball-hawking ability on full display when the Bulls open vs. Towson
Moving the spring game from Raymond James Stadium to campus has been a smart move during AD Mark Harlan and Willie Taggart's tenure as for the third year in a row, it has been held at the Corbett Soccer Stadium on campus. Everyone in attendance seemed to be impressed with the presentation as the program went all out to create a block party atmosphere with vendors, food trucks, DJ booths, and a concert afterwards. While 4,418 people isn't anywhere near the ridiculous amount of people at say, Ohio State's spring game, it's still continues to grow in success every year it's been held on Elm Drive as the program continues to reconnect with the local fanbase.
Also, some former FSU quarterback guy turned Bucs player showed up wearing USF gear...
WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling
Sitting out 2015 due to NCAA transfer rules, Marquez Valdes-Scantling spoke to the media after finishing up his first spring as an eligible, everyday player for the Bulls. We already talked about the NC State transfer potentially being the second-best option in a loaded receiver unit and he showed flashes of that with 72 yards for the Green team on Saturday.
LB Auggie Sanchez
The linebacker unit preview will drop this week, and a main focus will be on Junior Auggie Sanchez, who led the team with 118 tackles last season. The St. Pete native talks about the edge and focus needed to finish the job and rise to a conference championship next season.
Head Coach Willie Taggart
Taggart spoke to the media after completing his fourth spring game as the head man in South Florida. He mentions how the game was an overall success simply because they once again escaped the scrimmage with zero injuries.
The most interesting note came when he was asked about what he's picked up from other coaching staffs during the offseason (Baylor), he mentioned that the majority of what he had planned on offense was actually kept hidden from the media throughout the spring. We've talked at length Taggart forging an identity for the program similar to Baylor's, so we will see what he has up his sleeves once September rolls around and the games matter.