Brad Posted March 1, 2014 Group: Admin Topic Count: 12,937 Content Count: 92,100 Reputation: 8,494 Days Won: 398 Joined: 05/19/2000 Share Posted March 1, 2014 Bulls' Bulked-Up O-Line Ready to Push Back By TOM ZEBOLD USF Senior Writer TAMPA, FEB. 28, 2014 â€“ Players on the USF offensive line have heard the chatter thatâ€™s carried over from last season and the bulked-up Bulls have taken the criticism to heart. â€œWe took it as a challenge to get bigger and stronger in the offseason, so that we can prove that we can play,â€ senior left tackle Darrell Williams said. â€œA lot of people think weâ€™re not good enough to play in this offense, but I really feel we are. Weâ€™ve got a year under our belt and we should be more experienced. It should flow easier for us now.â€ USF is two practices into the spring swing and it hasnâ€™t taken long to see the Bulls up front have made a ton of progress from a stature standpoint following a grueling offseason of pumping iron. â€œWe averaged a gain of 13 pounds in the offseason,â€ said Williams, who gained 13 pounds of his own to get up to 310. â€œI saw it firsthand because this winter we worked out as a group and saw everyone gaining in the bench press, squat and power clean. Whatever lift we did, we gained more than last year.â€ The Bulls return all five players that started the bulk of games on the offensive line in 2013, including Williams (left tackle), fellow senior Austin Reiter (center) and junior Brynjar Gudmundsson (left guard) who each started all 12 games. Senior tackle Quinterrius Eatmon started 11 games at right tackle, missing the season finale at Rutgers with and injury, and sophomore Dominique Threatt started six games at right guard in his true freshman season. The average weight among the Bullsâ€™ five returning starters has grown from 297 to 310 pounds and players admit some swagger has come along with tipping the scales. â€œWith the added weight, I feel weâ€™ve been playing more aggressively so far, even though itâ€™s only been the first two days, but Iâ€™ve seen a difference so far,â€ Williams said. Willie Taggart stressed all offseason the importance of getting the line to become â€œpeople moversâ€ and USFâ€™s second-year head coach made sure the Bulls are using the added power in the right way by adding offensive coordinator Paul Wulff, a former standout center at Washington State who will oversee the line. â€œI think heâ€™s a really smart guy, a good coach, a good teacher, and Iâ€™m just excited to get some more out of him this spring,â€ said Reiter, who brought his weight up from 273 to 286 thanks to offseason workouts. Wulff joined the USF staff in January after spending the past two seasons with head coach Jim Harbaugh and the San Francisco 49ers as a senior offensive assistant. Prior to San Francisco, Wulff spent 12 seasons as a head coach at Eastern Washington (2000-07) and Washington State (2008-11), where he earned second-team All-Pac 10 and All-America honorable mention honors as a center from 1985-1989. â€œItâ€™s interesting to get a coach that worked with guys like Joe Staley and Anthony Davis â€“ NFL players â€“ and to see the transition coming to coaching us. Itâ€™s been a good experience so far,â€ Williams said. Under Wulff, Washington Stateâ€™s offense improved each season while he became a finalist for National Coach of the Year honors in 2004 and 2007. USFâ€™s new leading man on the line is happy to get back to coaching at the college level and heâ€™s been impressed with his pupilsâ€™ attitude so far. â€œItâ€™s been fun because these guys in particular have been really excited,â€ Wulff said. â€œA lot of players have been a lot of fun to work with and Iâ€™ve got to give them credit. Theyâ€™re all eager, and when theyâ€™re all eager and they want to get better as a coach you canâ€™t ask for much more than that and right now itâ€™s what weâ€™re doing.â€ USFâ€™s lineman have extra incentive to keep pushing harder this spring because of the Taggart approach to position battles. Like last spring, no Bull has secured a starting spot and thatâ€™s the way it will continue as Taggart and Wulff look to see who really wants to â€œdo somethingâ€ from now and throughout the fall. â€œRight now weâ€™re coaching all the same and theyâ€™re all getting equal reps,â€ Wulff said. â€œOnce we get pads on and we start putting practices together weâ€™ll all get a better idea of how things are going.â€ Coaches will get their first true look at the Bullsâ€™ progress in the trenches during Saturdayâ€™s practice that will feature full pads and itâ€™s open for the public as well, starting at 3 p.m. at the Morsani Football Complex. Other practices open to the public this spring are Friday, March 7 (8:30 a.m.), Saturday, March 9 (3 p.m.), Friday, March 21 (8:30 a.m.) and Saturday, March 22 (3 p.m.). â€œWeâ€™re doing all we can to play them and get every individual better. That (position battle) stuff will sort itself out in time,â€ Wulff said. â€œThere is no reason to worry about that right now, the players shouldnâ€™t worry about it. Donâ€™t worry, just play and thatâ€™s our approach right now and the depth chart is irrelevant.â€ Rest of story Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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