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nice 'spring practice overview' by TBO's Carter


SRQ

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The USF football team has four spring practices in the books under first-year coach Skip Holtz.

Both Holtz and the players are clearly in evaluation mode. Holtz and his staff are trying to determine exactly what they have to work with, and the players are adjusting to a new coach and learning an entirely different system.

So far, here are 10 things that jump out to me:

—In asking several players to pinpoint a tangible difference in how Holtz runs practice compared to what they did in the past, the phrase “more up-tempo’’ continues to pop up. Holtz and his staff maintain a quick pace, moving players from station to station at a rapid pace. That increases the urgency level and helps the players stay more focused on the field.

—If you are within earshot of a USF practice this spring, the guy with the thick New England accent is quarterbacks coach Peter Vaas. A native of Westwood, Mass., Vaas was a three-year starter at quarterback at Holy Cross in his playing days. Much like Holtz—Holtz said he tried to hire Vaas two other times but the timing was never right—Vaas is very personable and full of optimism in the way he deals with players on the field.

—Sophomore RB Lindsey Lamar has a lot of eyes on him this spring. It’s obvious that in the new staff’s time spent watching film of the players they inherited, Lamar is one that impressed them. They hope Lamar can add about 15 pounds before next season to help prepare him for a larger role in the offense.

—Senior DE David Bedford and senior RB Jamar Taylor learned the hard way how serious Holtz takes academics. Holtz kept Bedford out of the first two practices due to academic issues and Holtz said Monday that Taylor will miss the entire spring due to academics. At this point, it appears Taylor’s future with the team could be in jeopardy. He was injured most of last season and was unable to secure a passport to go to the International Bowl due to personal issues.

—Defensive coordinator Mark Snyder will be without one of his best players for a few days as sophomore linebacker Sam Barrington deals with a shoulder injury suffered in tackling drills on Friday. In talking with Snyder before spring practice opened, Barrington is clearly an impact-type player in Snyder’s view. Based on what Holtz said Monday night after practice, Barrington is expected to miss this week, which could keep him out of the Bulls’ first spring scrimmage on Saturday.

—It’s good to see senior kicker Maikon Bonani back on the field and fully recovered from the back injury he suffered last summer during a fall at Busch Gardens. Bonani is competing with senior Eric Schwartz to regain the job he held before Schwartz took over last season. I’ll have a story posted on TBO.com later today on Bonani and his return to the field.

—Walk-on quarterbacks usually don’t get a lot of attention, but in the case of Ryan Eppes, Glenn Fagan and Eric Johnson, they are worth keeping an eye on this spring considering starter B.J. Daniels is still recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. Eppes is considered the back-up to Daniels as of now, but Fagan and Johnson will be tested by Vaas this spring to see if they have a chance to contribute. Fagan is a left-hander with a looping throwing motion. Johnson is the more athletic and quicker of the two. We’ll be watching to see if either stands out in scrimmages this spring.

—As someone relatively new to the USF beat, I was only around for the final couple of months of Jim Leavitt’s tenure. I will say that Holtz has a more upbeat style and relaxed approach, whether it’s interacting with players, fans or the media. The situation at USF reminds me a lot of Florida State’s 2007 spring practice when several new coaches joined Bobby Bowden’s staff, including Bowden’s future replacement, Jimbo Fisher. Change usually breeds optimism, and that’s the best way to describe the atmosphere around USF’s spring practices thus far.

—I addressed Joel Miller’s return to the field in a story in Saturday’s edition of The Tampa Tribune. Miller is glad for a fresh start, and from what I can tell by just watching the first half-hour of practice, he seems to be interacting with his teammates like any other player. I haven’t seen anything out of the ordinary and neither has Holtz from his comments on Friday. Amid the controversy surrounding Miller and Leavitt over the past few months, it will be interesting to see if Miller ever makes a significant impact on the field at USF.

click the link to see final interesting observation:

http://sports.tboblogs.com/index.php/sports/related/C127/

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great stuff

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Awesome

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Good read.

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Welcome to Skip's world.  I like it the grass is a lot greener.

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Welcome to Skip's world.  I like it the grass is a lot greener.

We're on the bridge we wont reach the grass till the season starts, but so far I agree. 

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Welcome to Skip's world.  I like it the grass is a lot greener.

We're on the bridge we wont reach the grass till the season starts, but so far I agree. 

Agree ... we'll know much more 9-11-10  8-)

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Given how exciting their signings were when they ditched Alabama, it's amazing how little Jamar Taylor and Mike Ford have contributed to the team. And now it seems like both being gone before their senior years is very possible with this news about Taylor.

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