South Florida continues to tinker with its options at defensive end as the Bulls look for ways to create pressure off the edge opposite All-Big East second team lineman Ryne Giddins.
While the Bulls tied for fourth in FBS in sacks per game (3.25) in 2011, a good deal of pressure came from the linebacker trio of DeDe Lattimore, Sam Barrington and Michael Lanaris. With a lack of pressure from the defensive ends, the Bulls finished fifth in the Big East in pass defense (244.5 yards per game).
Injuries to junior Julius Forte (ankle) and Aaron Lynch (concussion-like symptoms), have provided added playing time in practice for junior Tevin Mims and freshman Eric Lee. Edsel Caprice, a converted outside linebacker and freshman Daniel Perry are competing for the fifth defensive end spot, according to the Tampa Bay Times. Lynch, a transfer from Notre Dame, remains sidelined as the NCAA reviews his transfer waiver, the Times reported.
Caprice is undersized (6-2, 215) but recorded an astounding 34 sacks and 66 tackles for loss in his final two seasons at Cape Coral High School (Fla.). Caprice, a redshirt freshman, has been clocked as fast as 4.45 in the 40 and proved disruptive in the prep ranks with his ability to get to the quarterback from a stand-up position.
Like Caprice, Perry is known for his burst off the ball. Perry (6-7, 250) was listed at 220 when he signed with USF in February, but has reportedly added 30 pounds.
Bajakian pleased with developments on offense: After the loss of six starters including QB Zach Collaros and RB Isaiah Pead, it could be a rebuilding season on offense at Cincinnat. Bearcats offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian, however, has been impressed with the consistency exhibited by several position groups throughout preseason camp.
“When you’re a young team to have that kind of depth it’s comforting,” Bajakian told GoBearcats.com.
The most closely watched position battle is at quarterback, where junior Munchie Legaux battles senior Brendon Kay. Legaux is known for his dual-threat capabilities, while Kay is regarded for having a strong arm. “They’ve embraced the leadership role that they need to embrace,” Bajakian told GoBearcats.com. “They’re competing with one another but at the same time they’re supporting each other.”
At wide receiver, Cincinnati returns two experienced, productive veterans in senior Kenbrell Thompkins and junior Anthony McClung. Bajakian has also been impressed with sophomores Alex Chisum and Shaq Washington. Chisum had 19 catches for 302 yards and two touchdowns in 2011, while Washington had three catches for 14 yards in five games. Washington is having his best training camp of his Bearcats’ career, Bajakian said.
More disciplined DL at Temple: A pair of upperclassmen on the Owls’ defensive line have returned to the team with renewed commitment to their academics and teammates, following a disappointing end to last season.
Senior DE Kadeem Custis and junior DT Shahid Paulhill have been reinstated by coach Steve Addazio after being dismissed last December for insubordination. Both linemen were suspended for Temple’s win over Wyoming in the Gilden New Mexico Bowl.
"I did everything in my power to stay with the Owls with academics and developing a good relationship with the coaches," Custis told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "I understand that I was a distraction last year."
Custis, who started two games in 2011, had 13 tackles and three tackles for loss last season. Paulhill started four games and recorded four tackles on the season. Both are critical for a defense that finished third in FBS in 2011 in points allowed per game. The Owls lost six starters on defense.
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