By TOM ZEBOLD
USF Senior Writer
VERO BEACH - Mother Nature has thrown USF a curveball, but the Bulls are more than ready to handle it.
Thunderstorms washed out practice on Friday at Vero Beach Sports Village, altering the Bulls' schedule for when they get back to Tampa to complete training camp. Instead of just a two-a-day on Tuesday, USF will go twice on Monday and Wednesday at the Frank Morsani Practice Complex.
But before the Bulls get back on the bus to go home, the team will go through another scrimmage on Saturday that will help coaches decide what players will make up the first and second teams once the season begins Sept. 1 at home against UT-Chattanooga.
"There are a lot of guys competing for positions. There are a lot of things we want to see. I want to evaluate offensively and defensively," head coach Skip Holtz said.
USF's first scrimmage of the fall took place Monday and was used to evaluate what the team's newcomers could do in a controlled game environment with the offensive units limited to just eight plays apiece. Fans coming out to camp on Saturday will get to see something that resembles a true game experience.
"If there is a turnover, the field won't flip. The next group is up and we're going the short way," Holtz said. "It's about keeping jobs alive and making first downs. It's about how penalties hurt you in a drive offensively and defensively, where up until this point was just personnel. This one is trying to put this team together a little bit more."
Fans interested in purchasing tickets will have a chance to chat with USF representatives that will be on hand to answer questions. The scrimmage also will be an opportunity for fans to win prizes like tickets, sideline passes and USF gear that will be given out periodically.
Bittersweet Experience in Vero Beach
This is linebacker Sam Barrington's third camp stay in Vero Beach and the senior is both happy and sad to be leaving once the Bulls complete Saturday's scrimmage.
"Everybody is still in high spirits and we're ready to get back to Tampa and turn it up a notch even more," he said. "I'm happy that we're going back, but I'll probably never come back to Dodgertown again let alone Vero Beach."
Looking Forward to Fan Fest
The Bulls will practice on Sunday before headlining an event that the players really look forward to at Raymond James Stadium. Fan Fest is scheduled for 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and it's a chance for USF faithful to not only reserve their seats for the season, but also to meet the players they'll be cheering for once the season kicks off.
"It always lifts me up and makes me happy to see that we can bring joy to people doing something like playing a sport. I always like seeing the kids," senior linebacker Mike Lanaris said. "They might be nervous when they come up to the table, but I always ask how they are and make it about them. It's so important because they are so important to us."
The event is free for all attendees with parking available in Lot 4 (enter stadium through Dock B on the ground level). There will be plenty of opportunities for autographs and pictures with your favorite Bulls. In addition, the field at Raymond James will be filled with interactive experiences.
"I just like a day dedicated to our fans," Lanaris said. "I like them being able to get close to us and be able to interact with us to see that we're just people, too. It's always a day I look forward to."
USF Victors Club-- @USFVictorsClub
Big shout out to the folks at The Vero Beach Sports Village. The best training camp facility in the business. Go Bulls!
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