With Sterling Griffin going down two weeks ago against Cincinnati, most wondered who would Skip Holtz turn to at wide receiver. After their strong performances against the Bearcats, Holtz will give freshmen Deonte Welch and Andre Davis the first crack to replace Griffin's production. In his press conference, Holtz thinks the two players will do well once they get in the rhythm of the game.
"I think they're ready to play. They'll be a little bit nervous when they first get out there, but after the first couple of plays they'll get rid of their nervousness."
Welch earned his first start two weeks ago when normal starter Stephen Bravo-Brown was unavailable due to an injury, and Deonte impressed catching 5 balls for a team high 130 yards. Welch earned a lot of those yards after the catch, making his defender miss and finding the running lanes to break what would have been a 10 yard catch into a big 30 yard play. While Bravo-Brown was able to return to practice this week, it looks like SBB has been Pipp'd for the time being.
Davis replaced was the first man to replace Griffin, and Andre did well with his first game seeing extended snaps. Andre had 4 catches for 60 yards and a beautiful touchdown catch on a back shoulder fade with a minute and a half to go. The Tampa product was a star at Jefferson High School, and he showed off some of those abilities two weeks ago. Davis was always known to have excellent hands and being able to time passes in the air, but this was the first time most USF fans saw that potential for Davis.
Both players had excellent fall camps, but Holtz didn't think they were ready for a ton of snaps when the season began, but now that they've slowly worked into the rotation, Holtz is ready to let them loose on the Big East.
"We knew then they weren't ready to play in the first game or the second game, but we wanted to get them some experience. We said when we get to the middle part of the year that they have an opportunity to make a significant contribution on this team."
With the Big East title pretty much out of reach, I'm all in favor of this move. This gives Welch, Davis, and even fellow freshman WR Ruben Gonzalez valuable game reps for the rest of the year. And really, compared to some of our other options on the outside, there isn't really that much of a drop in production. I'm really interested to see how they do Saturday.