By TOM ZEBOLD
USF Senior Writer
VERO BEACH - USF's first scrimmage of fall camp is in the books and a large group of Bulls are making the coaches' decisions on playing time a tough one.
The offense faced off against the defense for about two hours Monday night and fans that packed the stands shouted plenty of oohs and aahs because of the way the Bulls went all out, especially the players that are competing for spots on the initial depth chart.
"I think when you have some talent or some competition, which we're starting to get, the difference between starting or being a backup is a fine line," head coach Skip Holtz said. "Maybe a guy had 40 plays out here and the difference is may be one play."
Two of the names that really stuck out to Holtz after his initial assessment were running backs Marcus Shaw and Willie Davis, who both broke of numerous runs of 10 yards or more.
"We came into this saying we've got really four of five running backs that are in this competition right now," Holtz said. "I think Marcus Shaw has had a very productive camp. I think Willie Davis is showing some things. I also think Bradley Battles have done a really nice job."
Holtz noted that Battles didn't get much of a chance to show what he can do after going down with an ankle injury early on and USF's third-year coach also likes the potential that Michael Pierre possesses. Pierre, a junior, arrived at USF at the start of summer classes after rushing for 1,160 yards in two seasons at Golden West College in California.
"So far in camp I've been really impressed with what Michael Pierre can do from a talent standpoint. I think he's a little bit behind not having spring practice and just being in the offense for seven or eight days, but I think he's got some talent."
Davis made sure to point out that it wasn't easy gaining yards against the defense - not matter what group was on the field - and he's expecting great things from the unit when the snaps start to count in the regular season.
"Coming from last year redshirting and seeing how tight our group was last year, this year it's even tighter. They have everything down pat," Davis said. "I feel like they're really preparing themselves for a really successful season."
Cornerback George Baker's name came up quite a bit after the senior looked aggressive battling with the receivers. He also showed good awareness around the ball, which was trend for the secondary that made numerous interceptions. Baker is a part of a group that's in a tough competition for the starting cornerback spot opposite of senior Kayvon Webster.
"I think I did pretty well, but I also think there is definitely a lot of room for improvement," Baker said. "I just have to go into the film room tonight and tomorrow morning and get better."
Baker and a group of other players weren't the only ones eager to watch how things went down at Vero Beach Sports Village. It's safe to say that Monday night's film sessions will go well into Tuesday morning for the coaching staff.
"We will grade it tonight, watch it tonight and then meet with the players tomorrow morning. I'll be ready to put a depth chart out tomorrow afternoon," Holtz said. "Overall I was really proud of the way they competed."
Bulls Get Physical
Aside from star quarterback B.J. Daniels, every ball carrier was live during the scrimmage and the defense made the most of its first opportunity to go all out in a game situation, much to the appreciation of Holtz.
"I thought it was very physical knowing that we have been going at this for about eight days," Holtz said. "I thought it was extremely physical for a camp scrimmage. The one thing these players have shown me time and time again coming out on the field is they love to play the game."
The Backup QB Battle
Fans interested in knowing how the battle for the backup quarterback spot is going should basically go back to the theme of the spring. Junior Bobby Eveld and redshirt freshman Matt Floyd made mistakes, but they also made a ton of positive plays in the scrimmage to reinforce the idea of the competition going strong for the rest of camp.
"There were a couple of reads probably by both of them, where I sit in the back and go, 'Aw, I wanted it to go there.' That's the perfectionist in me finding probably some of the things that I wanted them to do better," Holtz said. "I can tell you standing back there, I thought both of them did some really good things. Both of them made some really nice runs, really nice decisions and didn't put the ball in danger... It's a heck of a competition going on with the two of them right now."
Quote of the Day"It's been a long time. It feels good to get out here and get to tackle for once. Everybody looked like they were flying around today." - Kayvon Webster on a physical scrimmage.
Nicole Pascual -- @Nikkicoool
USF's football team is going to be on point in fall 2012 ... I'm beyond excited.
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