By TOM ZEBOLD
USF Senior Writer
TAMPA - The plan didn't go as scheduled, but the Bulls certainly made it work on the field Tuesday morning.
The USF football team got in its first day of action this fall after lightning put the camp opener on hold Monday afternoon at the Frank Morsani Practice Facility.
"It was frustrating not being able to get on the grass, but we got a lot done yesterday. We had probably eight hours of meetings," head coach Skip Holtz said.
No hitting was done Tuesday, but the Bulls operated in full speed with quarterback B.J. Daniels making a highlight reel throw to Andre Davis during deep ball drills against the defensive unit.
"There's a lot of carryover and a lot of leadership on that field," Holtz said. "It was great to see the guys running around."
Aside from more meetings, players will use Tuesday afternoon to pack their bags and the team will board a bus headed for Vero Beach early Wednesday morning. The Bulls will get their first practice in at Dodgertown on Wednesday afternoon at the start of what will be a very valuable 11-day experience away from home.
"I think the time at Vero is so important not only because of the practice time you get, but the time to bond and build as a team," Holtz said. "We have about a 45-minute meeting every night that has nothing to do with football. It's all about life, teamwork, togetherness and a bonding experience."
Freshmen Have to Pick Things Up Quickly
Holtz compared the freshmen's experience right now to someone trying to drink water through a fire house. Players are trying to absorb information and can't consume everything coaches are giving them all at once.
"When they start, they see 35 bodies on the field. They're kind of moving in fast forward," Holtz said. "Physically, the only way I know how to get through that is to keep doing it. It will slow down with the more repetitions they gain."
Holtz isn't slowing the team's progress down one bit and part of the reason is because he wants to see what young players can get into the groove early. The Bulls' first scrimmage is Monday and the coaching staff will use the session to decide what the two deep is going to be and what freshmen will be redshirting this season.
"It's kind of their obligation to jump on the train, not for us to slow down the train for them to get on," Holtz said.
Freshmen that show they can pick things up quickly will earn the chance to contribute this season and several have already caught their coach's eye. Holtz named off defensive end Eric Lee, tight end Sean Price, wide receiver D'vario Montgomery, linebacker Tashon Whitehurst and defensive back Chris Bivins as players who have a good chance of making the active roster.
New Number, New Start for Griffin
Redshirt junior wide receiver Sterling Griffin has sported No. 17 during his USF career, but he's made a change to his favorite number (2) to follow in his father Steve's footsteps. The new number also serves as a new start for Griffin, who has had to endure a number of injuries the past two seasons.
"I was injured with 17, so I wanted to start fresh and come back healthy; a new number, a new change and a new focus," he said.
Griffin's old number is now being worn by freshman D'vario Montgomery, who has made a great first impression on his new head coach.
"I must have said, 'Great job, Sterling,' 10 times today yelling at him," Holtz said. "Sterling is like, 'Coach, I'm in 2.'"
Griffin caught 57 passes for 795 yards wearing No. 17 and he's confident the new player suiting up in the number will carry on a tradition of success.
"It looks good on him," Griffin said. "It's a good thing because he's going to be on the field and he's going to be making plays. He's going to make a name for himself as well."
Reiter Ready for Action
Austin Reiter found out that he's going to be the Bulls' new starting center in the spring and the sophomore was very comfortable talking about it with reporters on Tuesday.
"I'm happy with how things are going right now," Reiter said. "... It's been two and a half years, so it's just been gradually progressing."
Part of the reason why the 20-year-old is so comfortable is because he's picked up a lot of pointers from older linemen on the team through the years. He's roommates with senior Mark Popek and lived next door to Chaz Hine last year when he was the starting center.
"I'm good friends with all those guys and they've taught me a lot," Reiter said.
Reiter started to play a leadership role in the spring when he took over all the signal calls on the line, which is an art he'll continue to perfect in the fall.
"That's something that's a big responsibility and I've really been trying to improve on that," he said.
Quote of the Day
"I like being so close to bed. It's probably the best part of Vero," said senior tight end Andreas Shields.
Issac Bristol -- @CoachBristol
@gregauman Congratulating my @USFFootball Family @USFKevinPatrick & @CoachScottRB I love those guys & I'm so happy for them! Let's go #Bulls
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