Spring college football 2013: The 2013 Fiesta Bowl starts spring practice

Jamie Squire

Kansas State and Oregon open their spring schedules, USC loses another receiver and Willie Taggart creates the most complicated Spring Game selection process ever.

Kansas State

The Wildcats, coming off an 11-2 season and Big XII championship, became the last team in FBS football to start spring practice Wednesday. Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder has plenty of holes to fill, as K-State returns only 11 starters from 2012 and 18 players with starting experience.

Kansas State has a condensed spring workout regimen, holding their 15 practices in just 25 days. The Wildcats' spring schedule culminates in the annual Purple/White Game on April 27 in Manhattan.


Kansas State's 2013 Fiesta Bowl opponents are also in the early days of spring drills. The Ducks opened spring practice Tuesday, with new head coach Mark Helfrich's first practice as the top Duck (he called the experience "weird"). They returned to the practice field Wednesday, and Helfrich remained effusive in his praise:

Helfrich pointed to the play of all three of his quarterbacks in Wednesday's practice and discussed the effect of new defensive line coach Ron Aiken.


The knee injuries keep on coming for the Trojans. Rashaun Haylock of KCBS/KCAL reported Wednesday that wideout George Farmer is done for the season with a knee injury:

The Los Angeles Times is reporting the injury occurred during a non-contact receiving drill. Farmer, who has struggled with injuries throughout his career at USC, has caught five passes in two seasons with the Trojans. He had been praised by coaches during spring practice and appeared ready to make a breakthrough when the injury occurred.

Biletnikoff Award-winning wide receiver Marqise Lee and presumed starting quarterback Max Wittek have both been nursing knee injuries through spring practice, as well, though neither player is expected to have any lingering effects into the regular season.

South Florida

The USF Bulls are preparing for their first spring game under new head coach Willie Taggart, scheduled to be played at Raymond James Stadium on April 13. Taggart revealed a remarkably-elaborate system of choosing teams for the game Wednesday, Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times reports:

Is there a draft, you ask? There certainly is, but first, there's literally a "free agency" period that wraps up Thursday at noon. Bresnahan and Cooper have the right to "sign" one offensive and one defensive player each, getting the best players ahead of the draft. Taggart, who proudly calls himself the commissioner of this spring setup, said coaches are empowered to offer all kinds of perks to land their most coveted free agent: a first-class seat for a road-game flight, for instance, or the right to eat first at a team meal, or even get a hotel room to yourself.

Who will these four players be? Is it the best player? The best leader? The player most ahead of his top backup at a position? USF will announce the four free-agent signees on Thursday, and yes, there's a coin flip Thursday to determine who gets the first pick in Saturday's draft, which will take place after the scrimmage. Thirty players will be taken with the team present -- making it aware to all who the most prized among them are -- and then the rest of the draft will take place after the team has left the draft room.

Auman added that the coaching staff of the White squads left a clandestine cell phone in a meeting room reserved by the Green squad staff to pick up details on who Green is targeting in the Draft. And the South Florida spring game just became must-see television.

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