Head coach Charlie Strong will start his second season with the USF Bulls in their first practice of fall camp tonight. With the season opener now less than a month away many are still wondering who is going to fill former USF quarterback Quinton Flowers’ shoes?
During Spring practices, USF saw battles between junior Brett Kean and sophomore Chirs Oladokun. In fact, as both competed to fill the vacant spot many thought Kean, who served as a backup to Flowers, was going to be named the confident starter.
That was until a newcomer and suspension got thrown into the mix. Blake Barnett, a graduate transfer from Alabama/Arizona State, joined the Bulls a couple of months before the news of Kean’s four-game suspension broke. The 6-foot-5 California native is a former five-star prospect who started for the Crimson Tide in 2016 before being replaced by Jalen Hurts. A month later he transferred to Arizona State where he spent the 2017 season before making his way to Tampa, FL.
Now there is clear depth at the quarterback position, but still no clear answer as to who will lead the Bulls in their home opener on Sept. 1. Throw in Kean’s four-game academic suspension and this battle is back down to two. Fall camp will now feature Barnett and Oladokun, both of who are less experienced than Kean, facing off for the starting position.
In 2017 Oladokun had one pass attempt, which was completed for 12 yards. Barnett played in five games completing 14-24 passes for 259 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception over the course of his collegiate career. Both lack the experience Kean brought to the table, but are the two in question for the role.
Strong and offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert will observe both players over the 21 practices of Fall camp to see who will fit into their high-powered offense best. USF also has two prospective freshmen in Octavious Battle (Atlanta) and Jordan McCloud (Tampa) but it doesn’t make sense for Strong to throw them into the mix now. Oladokun shared snaps with Kean all Spring and Barnett has two more years of eligibility.
Kean will miss the first four games of the season and won’t be eligible to return until October 6. USF kicks off the season hosting Elon on Sept. 1 at Raymond James Stadium at 6:00 PM.
Fans will get their chance to meet the team next weekend at USF Fan Fest held in the newly named Yuengling Center from 1-4 PM on August 11. Then on August 25 the third annual GTAC Bulls Block Party from 2:30 to 6:30 PM in Ybor City.