South Florida spring wrap

May, 5, 2010
5/05/10
7:00
AM ET
2009 overall record: 8-5

2009 conference record: 3-4, T-4th in Big East

Returning starters

Offense: 9. Defense: 4. Punter/kicker: 1

Top returners
QB B.J. Daniels, WR Dontavia Bogan, RB Mo Plancher, LB Sam Barrington, DE Craig Marshall, WR Lindsey Lamar

Key losses
DE Jason Pierre-Paul, DE George Selvie, S Nate Allen, CB Jerome Murphy, LB Kion Wilson, RB Mike Ford

2009 statistical leaders (* returners)
Rushing: B.J. Daniels* (772 yards)
Passing: Daniels* (1,983 yards)
Receiving: Carlton Mitchell (706 yards)
Tackles: Kion Wilson (105)
Sacks: Jason Pierre-Paul (6.5)
Interceptions: Jerome Murphy and Nate Allen (4)

Spring answers

1. B.J. is OK: There were questions about how the Bulls would get through spring practice without any healthy scholarship quarterbacks, but B.J. Daniels managed to take most of the important reps following his offseason shoulder surgery. Then he went out and had a terrific spring game performance, albeit one in which he couldn't get hit. Daniels should be full go for the start of fall camp.

2. New playmakers found: First-year coach Skip Holtz wanted to identify some offensive difference-makers alongside Daniels, and the team thinks sophomore speedster Lindsey Lamar could be that guy. Lamar moved from running back to receiver, where the goal is to get him in open space and let him use his sprinter skills. Running back Demetris Murray also impressed at times during camp.

3. Linebacker strength: Even with leading tackler Kion Wilson gone, defensive coordinator Mark Snyder believes that linebacker could be the strength of the defense. It's mostly an inexperienced group, but Snyder loves the ability of players like Sam Barrington, Jacquian Williams and Mike Lanaris. And there's enough depth to form a good rotation at each spot.

Fall questions

1. Quarterback depth: While Daniels is the unquestioned starter, the Bulls can't afford for him to miss any time. His main backup figures to be a true freshman, Jamius Gunsby. It would behoove South Florida to severely limit contact on Daniels once again in fall camp, but that would mean he enters the season without experiencing getting hit for almost nine months.

2. The replacements: The Bulls bring only four starters back on defense, and they lost some major talent on that side of the ball with four players getting drafted by the NFL last month. Can they replace the production of defensive ends George Selvie and Jason Pierre-Paul? And can the secondary reload after losing safety Nate Allen and cornerback Jerome Murphy?

3. Deep threats? Dontavia Bogan became Daniels' main target in the spring game and put up dazzling numbers. Still, the ACL injury to A.J. Love in that game depleted South Florida's already thin receiving group. Bogan was switched from the inside to the outside during the spring and needs to carry his performance over into the fall. Lamar and sophomores Sterling Griffin and Evan Landi also have to step up their contributions.

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