TAMPA – This afternoon's rainy weather and lightning created a false start for the University of South Florida football program. The opening practice was pushed back until Tuesday morning.
That's when questions can begin to be answered.
Overall, coach Skip Holtz's Bulls have a definitive direction. There are 15 returning starters and realistic hopes of contending for USF's first Big East Conference championship in football.
But there are a few unsolved areas that will command everyone's attention during training camp.
Who is the second cornerback?
Senior Kayvon Webster is well-established at one corner, but the other job is very much up for grabs.
Senior George Baker begins training camp on the first team after a productive spring. Baker needed that after some shaky play last season. Defensive backs coach Rick Smith said the staff still doesn't fully trust Baker – yet – but is willing to let the competition play out.
Junior-college transfer Fidel Montgomery, originally from Marianna, is the player to watch. Smith said Montgomery might ultimately be a better fit at safety, although he's also able to make an immediate contribution at corner. Also watch for redshirt freshman Kenneth Durden, while true freshman Jalen Spencer should also get a look.
Who is the backup quarterback?
Senior B.J. Daniels goes into his fourth season as USF's starter and he should hold every significant passing record at the school by year's end. If Daniels remains healthy, there shouldn't be much question about the quarterback play.
But if a replacement is needed, coaches say the backup position is a neck-and-neck duel between junior Bobby Eveld and redshirt freshman Matt Floyd. Eveld, a former walk-on from Jesuit High, has started twice and was the impetus behind USF's victory at Miami in 2010. Floyd's skills are still largely unknown.
The Eveld-Floyd competition bears watching because it could figure into the post-Daniels era of 2013, when the Bulls also are counting on Asiantii Woulard of Winter Park High, a USF oral commitment who was named Most Valuable Player at last month's Elite 11 Finals in Redondo Beach, Calif.
Where is the depth at linebacker?
The Bulls seem set at linebacker with senior Sam Barrington, senior Michael Lanaris and junior DeDe Lattimore as returning starters. Holtz said developing linebacker depth is "critical.'' Senior Mike Jeune is reliable. The best young prospect appears to be sophomore Reshard Cliett.
Can the defensive line be an area of strength?
The press clippings seem to suggest a resounding, "Yes!''
Junior defensive end Ryne Giddins, of Armwood High, displayed star quality after being named second-team All-Big East. He needs help on the other side from junior Julius Forte. The most important need might be an inside push from senior defensive tackle Cory Grissom, who is making a nice recovery from a broken ankle in the spring.
Notre Dame transfer Aaron Lynch, one of the nation's top freshmen last season, would be a massive help and USF will petition the NCAA in hopes of getting him immediately eligible, but that might be a longshot.