Daniels Feeling More Comfortable in Year Two
By TOM ZEBOLD
USF Senior Writer
TAMPA - B.J. Daniels' playbook was probably more like CliffNotes the past three seasons.
The Bulls' redshirt junior had a new coordinator in each of those years, which isn't the ideal situation for a quarterback at any level.
"There's never been any stability for B.J. to turn and grow as a quarterback," USF head coach Skip Holtz said.
Things started to change for the better last season when Holtz and offensive coordinator Todd Fitch came aboard.
"A year ago everything was what to do, where this year is much more how to do it," Holtz said. "That's where I think B.J. is feeling more comfortable. He's feeling more confident in the system."
Daniels agrees and has put himself into a position to prove to critics that he's truly evolving.
"I've had the same coordinator for two years, so I've attacked it all summer and really tried to do everything I could from a leadership standpoint and working on my fundamentals," Daniels said.
Last year was a learning experience for Daniels, who passed for 1,685 yards, 11 touchdowns and 13 interceptions while he fought through injuries.
"He did not have the type of year last year that we all would have loved for him to have coming in and learning a new system," Holtz said.
Daniels did end the season on a high note by throwing two touchdown passes and running for another score in a Meineke Car Care Bowl victory over Clemson.
A lot of things have changed for Daniels since then and the Bulls can see the progressions.
"I see B.J. as more of a vocal leader out there just making checks at the line of scrimmage when he sees something," said wide receiver Sterling Griffin, a target Daniels didn't have last season because of an injury.
From a coach's perspective, Daniels is starting to refine his quarterbacking acumen.
What used to be a thrower, rocketing footballs down the field, is now a passer who controls the speed of his arm.
"B.J. has categorized his throwing motion to where it's much more consistent, thus he's much more accurate than he was in the past," quarterbacks coach Peter Vaas said.
Vaas likes to use the word "mature" a lot now when talking about Daniels and said the Tallahassee native is in much more control of himself than he was a year ago.
"He's making much better decisions on a much more consistent basis," Vaas said.
USF coaches, players and fans aren't the only ones who have faith in Daniels' promise, too.
ESPN analysts consistently describe Daniels as a potential breakout player this season and ESPN Big East writer Andrea Adelson has ranked him as the 24th-best player in the conference.
"Put me firmly on the Daniels bandwagon for this season," Adelson wrote in a recent blog.