Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

USF picks up the pace in first spring practice with Charlie Strong

South Florida Bulls quarterback Quinton Flowers (9) throws a pass to South Florida Bulls running back Trevon Sands (28) during warm up before the game between the University of South Florida and Florida State in Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Sept. 24, 2016.

ANDRES LEIVA | Times

South Florida Bulls quarterback Quinton Flowers (9) throws a pass to South Florida Bulls running back Trevon Sands (28) during warm up before the game between the University of South Florida and Florida State in Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Sept. 24, 2016.

TAMPA — As his first spring practice as USF coach commenced on a cool, windy Monday morning, Charlie Strong didn't appear interested in first impressions. He was more concerned with making a fast one.

If the inaugural workout of the Strong era — 2 1/2 hours on the nose — was any sign, the Gulf Coast offense of 2015 and '16 might be relegated to the right lane. Operating briskly at the behest of their new staff, the Bulls installed the first fragments of coordinator Sterlin Gilbert's fifth-gear system.

Could it be faster than last year's record-breaking offense?

"I think so," reigning American Athletic Conference offensive player of the year Quinton Flowers said. "It's very different. Everything goes very fast. You only get a signal one time so you have to see it, so that's a good thing. Everybody gets their role in, everybody knows what they're doing, and we're just getting out there and playing ball."

While careful not to single anyone out after one workout in shorts, shoulder pads and helmets, Strong nonetheless seemed pleased with the collective effort and pace on both sides.

"I just loved their overall attitude and just how hard they worked; they didn't back away from it," he said. "And how we had the tempo where we just constantly were going, going, going."

Strong never got overly vocal, leaving any bombast to his new staffers, the most colorful of whom was defensive coordinator Brian Jean-Mary.

"I like crazy coaches," cornerback Deatrick Nichols said. "He's kinda crazy."

Taking snaps behind Flowers — in order — were redshirt sophomore Brett Kean and redshirt freshman Chris Oladokun. Senior D'Ernest Johnson, the heir apparent to three-time 1,000-yard rusher Marlon Mack, got the first handoffs.

The most conspicuous bystander was middle linebacker (and 2016 tackles leader) Auggie Sanchez, sitting out this spring while recovering from labrum surgery. Like Monday's other eyewitnesses, he didn't dare blink much.

"As of the first day of practice, we're moving very fast," said Flowers, whose 4,330 total yards last season included 1,530 on the ground. "But I see I could do a lot of things in this offense, a lot of passing. You might not see me run like that a lot, but at the end of the day it's what's best for the team."

Contact Joey Knight at jknight@tampabay.com. Follow @TBTimes_Bulls.

USF picks up the pace in first spring practice with Charlie Strong 03/06/17 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 7, 2017 10:28am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. 247Sports: Berkeley Prep's Nicholas Petit-Frere top OT in nation

    Footballpreps

    Berkeley Prep offensive tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere already is widely considered the best player in Tampa Bay.

    Berkeley Prep rising senior defensive end Nicholas Petit-Frere (78) performs a pad drill during spring football practice at Berkeley Prep in Tampa, Fla., on Thursday, May 12, 2017.
  2. Full disclosure: My AP Top 25 ballot

    Blogs

    Now that you've seen the preseason AP Top 25, here's what I submitted in my first year as a voter. The AP doesn't give us many guidelines in the preseason. I didn't try to predict how …

  3. AP Top 25: Alabama first, FSU, UF, Miami and USF all in top 20

    Blogs

    As expected, Alabama will start the season at No. 1 in the AP Top 25.

  4. HomeTeam 25: Football rankings for Tampa Bay

    Footballpreps

    Armwood High School quarterback Devin Black (7) hands the ball off to running back Larry Anderson (13) during the Spring Football Jamboree in Seffner, Fla. on Thursday, May 18, 2017.
  5. Ex-Florida Gators QB Treon Harris will start at Tennessee State

    Blogs

    Former Florida Gators quarterback Treon Harris is a starter again.

    At Tennessee State.