Bass prepared for challenge from Clemson's Bowers
Here are Saturday's practice notes from Times correspondent Kerry Klecic ...
TAMPA -— No one is seeing the phrase “save the best for last” played out in his life right now more than USF senior offensive tackle Jamar Bass.
In the Meineke Car Care Bowl, Bass’ final collegiate game, he will face the toughest challenge of his career lining up against Clemson defensive end and national defensive player of the year Da’Quan Bowers, who leads the country with 15.5 sacks this season.
“I’ve got to play a good game,” Bass said Saturday. “If (walk-on quarterback) Bobby (Eveld) is playing, I’ve got to protect him. If B.J. (Daniels) is playing, I’ve got to protect him. It’s going to be a great challenge going up against this defensive end, so it will help me out a lot.”
Bass said 6-foot-2, 234-pound junior defensive end Claude Davis has been playing Bowers’ part in practice, as the Bulls try to replicate his speed. Coach Skip Holtz said the all-around strength of Clemson’s defensive line makes it hard to just focus on Bowers.
“What makes them good is they’re a penetrating front, and I think the way they do things inside doesn’t allow you to do things to attack Bowers as an offensive line,” he said. “You can’t slide protection to him and leave your guard one-on-one because of what they do from a penetrating style … Bowers, obviously, is a ‘manchild’ playing this game.”
This and that: USF’s coaching staff has used the extra practice time gained for playing a game later in the bowl season to give starters a rest and get a better look at younger players, Holtz said. Senior defensive end David Bedford said the time off is a much-welcomed difference between previous bowl preparations in years past … Senior fullback Richard Kelly, who missed USF’s regular season finale against Connecticut after thumb surgery, is expected to play against Clemson. Holtz said redshirt freshman running back Bradley Battles and sophomore tight end Jeff Hawkins, both backups on offense, could be out for the entire spring with significant knee injuries.