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April 9, 2013
Breaking Down the Spring Rosters
The 2013 Spring Season is in its final week of practices, and the rosters have been finalized for the Spring Game. In you aren't familiar with the process of selecting the teams, then you aren't alone. Willie Taggart brought over a format different from years past. Instead of randomly diving the team into two, Taggart decided to make it a bit more fun. Both the green team, led by Chuck Bresnahan, and the white team led by Ron Cooper, had the opportunity to sign two free agents before a draft which was held this past Saturday.
Now that the teams are complete, let's take a look at who "won" and who "lost" at each position.
The green team takes the nod in this category simply because they have the guy who is the No.1 QB on the moving depth chart. Bobby Eveld has begun to distance himself from Matt Floyd taking the reigns as the No. 1 quarterback. Eveld brings more experience to the position as well. Even though both guys are learning a new offense, Eveld is a senior and Floyd is fairly young as a RS-Sophomore. Coach Taggart has said that while the offense has lacked consistency, they're getting better each and every day. It's not a slight against Floyd, because we know and have seen that Floyd has the potential to be very good.
I think it's pretty clear that the white team has the advantage at the running back position for Saturday's spring game. Ron Cooper was able to nab up the top two backs on the depth chart in Marcus Shaw and Michael Pierre, who scored a touchdown in the scrimmage last Saturday. The green team has Willie Davis and then four fullbacks. The success of these guys all depends on how the offensive line plays in front of them.
This one was a bit tougher to choose than quarterback and running back, but once you look further into it, it becomes clearer that Chuck Bresnahan and the green team has the better group of receivers. Even though the white team grabbed Andre Davis, the green team has Derrick Hopkins, Sterling Griffin, and D'Vario Montgomery among others. The green side is just a little bit deeper at the position, and that's why they have the upper hand.
This position is a push. Sean Price and Mike McFarland have split time with the first team, and both are on separate teams. Price was the bigger contributor last season, and has been talked about in the spring, but McFarland is an under-the-radar talent that not many people know about.
I have the green team with the advantage because there are more players who saw the field last season. Austin Reiter was one of the free agent signings for the white team. He's joined by Steven Jacques, and Quinterrius Eatmon as the only three players who saw a decent amount of playing time last season. The green team is anchored by a surprise suspect in Mak Djulbegovic who was taken with the second pick of the draft. He's been a pleasant surprise this spring and has played his way onto the first team offense. Joining him are four other draft picks Thor Jozwiak, Brynjar Gudmundsson, and Darrell Williams as other players who received playing time last season. I mentioned before how the running backs success will depend on how this offensive line plays.
I've long said that this is the deepest position on the USF roster, and I'm sticking to that. This position is a push. There is so much talent on the defensive front for the Bulls. So much so, that both teams used their defensive free agent signings on Luke Sager (Green) and Aaron Lynch (white). Sager is joined by Tevin Mims, Julius Forte, Anthony Hill, and Ryne Giddens among others. Joining Lynch on the white team is Elkino Watson, Eric Lee, James Hamilton, and more. Sager has been talked about as a team leader and we all know what Lynch brings to the table. Both of these sides have talent and depth and I don't know how I could fairly give an edge to either side.
The white team has the edge as far as the linebackers go. Ron Cooper put together a core of DeDe Lattimore, Reshard Cliett, and Zach Bullock who all saw significant playing time last season. The green team is a bit more inexperienced. Only one player on the roster got playing time last season, and that was Tashon Whitehurst. Chuck Bresnahan decided to use two draft picks on Rahmon Swain and Hans Louis. Swain is a junior college transfer new to USF, and Louis saw no action in 2012.
Now the final position to break down, which is the secondary. Everybody knows how much this position struggled last season, as they only forced two interceptions. Both of those came in the same game, and one was by a defensive lineman. Anyways, I would give the nod to the white team if Chris Bivins was available, but he is still rehabbing a knee injury. With that said, the core group of Joshua Brown, JaQuez Jenkins, and Torrel Saffold of the green team has the edge over the white. Brown and Saffold have both seen time as the starting corners, and Jenkins has been the starting safety all spring long.
Spring Game Information
The Spring Game will take place on Saturday April 13th, with kickoff set for 5:00 PM at Raymond James Stadium. Admission is free for those who wish to attend.
Josh Appel is the Senior Writer for RunningtheBulls.com. He is a student broadcaster at the University of South Florida. You can contact him at Josh@RunningtheBulls.com. Follow Josh on Twitter at @JoshAppel.