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August 7, 2012When it comes to the secondary, USF has had trouble keeping all of its parts healthy at the same time, especially at cornerback. At no point last season did the Bulls have their full arsenal at the position, so loading up this offseason was a priority.
Senior Kayvon Webster returns as the unquestioned leader of the pack and will almost certainly occupy one of the starting spots this season. But the other spot is wide open, and USF coach Skip Holtz said there are several capable candidates.
USF signed two junior college transfers - Fidel Montgomery and Josh Brown - in hopes of the two making immediate impacts.
Montgomery barely edged out the competition in the spring and enters fall practice first on the depth chart opposite Webster, but as Holtz said Sunday, the competition is essentially still wide open.
"From a defensive standpoint, the biggest question mark I have is who is going to be the second corner," Holtz said. " There are a lot of question marks but there's an awful lot of talent to decide between."
George Baker returns as the most experienced candidate, but even as a fifth-year senior, he hasn't been able to stay on the field consistently throughout his career. Then there are two freshmen who will have a chance to compete, including the athletic Kenneth Durden (listed as co-second-teamer with Brown on the post-spring depth chart) and Chris Bivins, a 2012 signee who enrolled this summer.
"All are very capable of playing the position, it's just a matter of how it is all going to play out," Holtz said.
Keep in mind, too, that defensive coordinator Chris Cosh and defensive backs coach Rick Smith like to run a lot of nickel, which will perhaps put three cornerbacks on the field at the same time.
The most likely nickel package, however, will put three safeties on the field at once, with JaQuez Jenkins playing nickelback and Jon Lejiste and Mark Joyce occupying the safety spots. Still, if some of the aforementioned cornerbacks separate themselves this fall, it will only give USF more options at a position where depth is critical.