South Florida Preview 2006 - Offense
South Florida Bulls
Posted Aug 1, 2006

South Florida Bulls Preview 2006 - South Florida Offense

What you need to know ... The offense has athletes and has experience at key positions, but will it go anywhere without all-star back Andre Hall to carry the attack? The receiving corps has the potential to be the second best in the league behind Louisville's fantastic group, but someone has to get them the ball. Pat Julmiste is a long-time starter who can't throw with any consistency, while Carlton Hill has the talent to grow into the star of the team if the coaching staff can live through a season of mistakes to go along with the big plays. This is a spread attack that likes to use four wide receivers, but it was a running team last year. Backs Ricky Ponton and Moise Plancher will combine to try to replace Hall.

Returning Leaders
Passing: Pat Julmiste
124-252, 1,489 yds, 6 TD, 11 INT
Rushing: Ricky Ponton
92 carries, 373 yds, 2 TD
Receiving: Amarri Jackson
22 catches, 242 yds

Star of the offense: Senior OT Thed Watson
Player that has to step up and become a star: Sophomore RB Ricky Ponton and/or redshirt freshman RB Moise Plancher
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore WR Taurus Johnson
Best pro prospect: Watson
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Watson 2) WR Amarri Jackson, 3) WR Jackie Chambers
Strength of the offense: Wide receiver
Weakness of the offense:
Completion percentage

It'll be an interesting battle all fall for the number one spot. Will longtime starter Pat Julmiste be the main man again, or will now be the time Carlton Hill (if he's even part of the mix after off-season trouble) gets a chance to try to shine? The coaching staff traveled to Missouri and Texas to see how to better work the quarterbacks in the spread offense, and while Julmiste and Hill can run well, they can't throw with any consistency. Watch for a rotation between the two until someone gets the hot hand.
The key to the unit: Completion percentage. The quarterbacks have a great receiving corps to work with, but can they work the ball deep and get the ball in places to turn short plays into big gains? USF finished 113th in the nation in passing efficiency; that can't happen again.
Quarterback Rating: 6.5

Projected Starter
- Pat Julmiste, Sr. - 124-252, 49%, 1,489 yds, 6 TD, 11 INT, 126 carries, 336 yds, 2.7 ypc, 4 TD
Julmiste is a 6-3, 220-pound runner with a huge arm and 23 games of starting experience, but he's hanging on to the starting job be a thread. He has a big problem with his accuracy only completing 48% of his career passes with 22 interceptions and 16 touchdowns, and while he can run well, but he takes too many sacks and he needs to improve his decision making.

Top Backups
- Carlton Hill, Soph. - 11-24, 46%, 135 yds, 2 INT, 28 carries, 94 yards, 3.4 ypc, 1 TD
Hill is neck and neck with Pat Julmiste for the starting job and is a better fit for the starting job. At 6-3 and 220 pounds, he's a big presence with outstanding rushing skills. He has so much upside that the coaching staff is trying to figure out how to use him like Texas utilized Vince Young. With so much athleticism that the team used him at receiver last year, he has too much speed not to get more work if he's not the number one option coming out of fall practices. However, he got into trouble off the field and might end up redshirting.
- Matt Grothe, RFr.
The clear number three man in the mix, Grothe can do a little bit of everything rushing for 1,250 yards and 15 scores as a high school senior while passing for 2,700 yards and 33 touchdowns. He'll be a key scout team quarterback and could see a little bit of work in garbage time.

Running Backs
Andre Hall didn't just carry the USF ground game, he was also the team's leading receiver. It' going to take several backs to try to match his overall production with Ricky Ponton and Moise Plancher combining to try to fill the void. Former defensive back Walt Smith will see a few carries adding some flash to the mix, while true freshmen Keeley Dorsey and Aston Samuels might see early work if injuries strike.
The key to the unit: Be good enough to carry the workload. If the passing game is as lame as it was last season, the new backs had better be prepared to combine for 300 carries.
Running Back Rating: 6

Projected Starters
- Ricky Ponton, Soph. - 92 carries, 373 yds, 4.1 ypc, 2 TD, 6 catches, 26 yds, 4.3 ypc
A star high school linebacker as well as a running back, the 5-10, 205-pound sophomore brings good power along with a surprising speed burst. He's not Andre Hall and won't run for over 1,300 yards and score 13 touchdowns, but he should be productive in rotation and has enough experience to be a feature back early on.

Top Backups
- Moise Plancher, RFr.
A talented back who'll get every shot at replacing Andre Hall, the 5-9, 190-pound Plancher has good speed and excellent between-the-tackle moves. He saw plenty of time in practice last year and showed enough flash to get the coaching staff thinking he could grow into a star.
- Keeley Dorsey, Fr.
Will the true freshman get in the mix to add more speed to the backfield? The high school quarterback has the best wheels among the running backs clocking in a 4.4 40, but he might not get on the field this season.

If the USF passing game isn't better than 109th in the nation, it's not the receiving corps' fault. It's a deep, speedy and experienced group with a great mix of talents and skills. The top three wide receivers, Jackie Chambers, Amarri Jackson and S.J. Green, are all back, but they have to use their talents to be more dangerous. LSU transfer Amp Hill brings more speed to the mix, while Taurus Johnson and Jessie Hester are talented young targets who'll grow into bigger roles.
The key to the unit: Score. Of the eight touchdown catches made by the Bulls, only one was made by a returning receiver.
Receiver Rating: 7

Projected Starters
- Amarri Jackson, Jr. - 22 catches, 242 yds, 11 ypc, 7 carries, 86 yds, 3 TD
Jackson finished second on the team in receiving, but he hardly played like the dangerous target he is on a consistent basis and has yet to show off all his skills with his biggest plays of last year coming on runs against Louisville for two touchdowns. At 6-5 and 195 pounds with basketball player athleticism, Jackson poses mega-matchup problems for just about everyone. Now he has to produce more at the X position.

- Jackie Chambers, Jr. - 21 catches, 290 yds, 13.8 ypc
The team's most dangerous all-around weapon, Chambers is an all-star caliber kick and punt returner as well as a fantastic deep threat. He had his biggest game late in the year catching five passes for 94 yards against West Virginia, but he has the speed to do a whole lot more.

- S.J. Green, Sr. - 16 catches, 229 yds, 14.3 ypc, 1 TD
The 6-3, 210-pound senior has been around for 33 games with 22 starts and should be the team's most reliable receiver. While he hasn't been explosive and he did next to nothing until the final four games of last year, he's tough enough to handle himself well on the inside and talented enough to give smaller defensive backs some major problems.

- Taurus Johnson, Soph. - 3 catches, 35 yds, 11.7 ypc
With a little bit of backup work as a true freshman, Johnson has the skills to start at the H position in four-wide sets and be a key target in the rotation in three-wide formations. He has big-time upside with good size and excellent quickness.

Top Backups
- Tight end Will Bleakley, Sr. - 1 catch, 19 yds
USF doesn't always use a tight end in the spread formation, but when it does, Bleakley will be part of a rotation seeing most of his time as a blocker and on special teams. His one catch last season came in the season opener.
- Amp Hill, Soph.
The LSU transfer was considered one of the best wide receiver recruits in the country a few years ago. He's 6-3 and 200 pounds with the speed to blow past anyone in the Big East. It's just a question of time before he becomes one of the team's top receivers, but he'll start out playing behind S.J. Green at the X.
- Jessie Hester, Soph. - 3 catches, 37 yds, 12.3 ypc
Hester is the son of the former NFL receiver by the same name and showed a little of the same talent in a limited role as a true freshman. He was a top recruit for the program with the potential to grow into a big-play receiver along with Taurus Johnson on the H.

Offensive Linemen
Even with three returning starters up front, the line should be an issue early on. Thed Watson is one of the Big East's better tackles and Walter Walker is a solid guard, but everyone else will need time to get better. 255-pound Nick Capogna is a woefully undersized center meaning inexperienced sophomore Jake Griffin needs to play a big role, while there's little to no experience among the rest of the reserves.

The key to the unit: Be patient. USF had one of the better all-around lines in the Big East last year, and it should be good by midseason after everyone has had time to work together.
Offensive Line Rating: 6.5

Projected Starters
- OT Thed Watson, Sr.
One of three returning starters on the line, the imposing 6-8, 295-pound senior was fantastic after coming over from the JUCO ranks. His claim to fame was his shutdown performance against Louisville's All-America defensive end Elvis Dumervil, and he was just as strong a pass protector against everyone else.
- OG Danny Tolley, RFr.
One of the X factors on the line, the 6-6, 310-pound Tolley has the size, but he doesn't have any experience. He was a very nice recruit for the program two years ago considered the future at tackle, but he appears to be a better fit at guard, at least early on.
- C Nick Capogna, Jr.
The former tight end turned into the starter this spring in the middle. His emergence allowed George Selvie to stay on the defensive line and he should be a consistent pass blocker. At only 255 pounds, his quickness, athleticism and technique will have to make up for his lack of size.
- OG Walter Walker, Jr.
Able to play either tackle of guard, the 6-5, 305-pound junior will find a starting spot again moving from right tackle to right guard. He's a good pass blocker, but his size and experience are need inside to boost the ground game.
- OT Marc Dile, Soph.
Able to play either tackle spot, the 6-4, 305-pound sophomore is one of the team's most experienced lineman along with being one of the most versatile. He'll start on the right size with Thed Watson holding down the spot on the other side, but he'll play where needed and be a top pass protector.

Top Backups
- OG
Matt Huners, Soph.
A backup for most of last year with one start at left guard, Huners has enough experience to fill in again if injuries strike. He has made remarkable improvements in strength and conditioning over the last year, and now he's a solid 290 pounds at left guard.

- OT Jared Carnes, Jr.
The main backup at both tackle spots, Carnes is a good 6-7, 295-pound prospect who quickly has to establish himself as a reliable blocker int he rotation.

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