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August 29, 2012

Holtz, coaching staff provide insight as USF prepares for opener

Here's a few storylines from Holtz's press conference on Tuesday, as the Bulls prepare for the season opener against UT-Chattanooga on Saturday.

-Holtz said a big focus during the offseason and during camp has been special teams, which struggled last season. He said the team has taken an "all-hands on deck" approach to all three phases, meaning more coaches and players have been involved in improving special teams.

-Addressing the receiver position, Holtz said he's excited about the speed and deep threats the current team possesses in comparison to past USF teams. One player Holtz mentioned who's made a big improvement is Derrick Hopkins, who's caught pretty much everything in fall camp.

-Junior running back Marcus Shaw has shown more consistency this year than in years past and is becoming more of an every down back.

-Freshmen Holtz expects to play on Saturday: tight end Sean Price and defensive end Eric Lee

-Freshmen who may not play Saturday but have the opportunity to contribute this season: wide receiver D'Vario Montgomery, defensive tackle James Hamilton, linebacker Tashon Whitehurst, and cornerback Chris Bivins

-Sophomore offensive lineman Darrell Williams, listed as a starter at left tackle on the recently released depth chart, didn't practice on Wednesday because of a tweaked ankle but should be cleared for Saturday, Holtz said.

-As the depth chart would indicate, Holtz confirmed senior George Baker will get the starting nod at cornerback opposite Kayvon Webster, while a pair of juniors -- Tevin Mims at defensive end and Luke Sager at defensive tackle -- have also earned starting nods.

-Holtz announced that three walk-ons will be placed on scholarship this fall: Senior fullbacks Spencer Cavalieri and Chris Breit, and sophomore kicker Marvin Kloss, who's expected to handle kickoffs this season.

-Offensive coordinator Todd Fitch said senior running back Demetris Murray has had a "great camp" not only in terms of skill level, but also with his leadership qualities.

-Fitch said sophomore Michael McFarland, a Florida transfer, has come on in the second part of fall camp and will be part of the Bulls' game plan at tight end this season.

-Fitch said with Lindsey Lamar and Shaw, the current backfield has the most speed of any USF team since he's been here.

-Fitch also praised the offensive line, specifically center Austin Reiter, who has a chance to be "a really good player" at USF. Reiter is expected to make his first career start on Saturday.


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