Bulls' offensive line has first big test at FSU
Thursday's practice notes from Times correspondent Kerry Klecic ...
TAMPA — USF co-offensive line coach Mike Simmonds said Thursday that despite the inexperience entering the season, he’s pleased with the job the offensive line has done in the first three games.
Saturday will be whole different test, though.
The Bulls will be up against a Florida State defense that was fourth in the nation in sacks last season and ranks in the top 25 again this year, including a seven-sack game against Jacksonville State on Sept. 12.
“Their defense is built on speed and up front they have that going for them — quick guys,” Simmonds said. “Whether it’s a speed rush or bull rush, they’ve got some great counters.”
The Seminoles have scored three defensive touchdowns in three games, including an interception return by junior defensive end Markus White against Miami on Sept. 7. Simmonds said he expects a lot of effort from the offensive line this weekend.
“Week in and week out, no matter who you play, you have to play at the highest level,” he said. “Every game should be like the Super Bowl to these guys. They have a lot of pride in how they approach the game, and they’ll show everything they’ve got on Saturday.”
Despite playing two ranked opponents in Miami and BYU, FSU defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews said USF center Sampson Genus “may be as good an offensive lineman as we’ve faced.” Genus, a junior, is a first-year starter at offensive line after transferring over from the defensive side.
“Sampson has to get better each week, but this will be a huge test for him and our offensive line,” Simmonds said.
Other notes: USF coach Jim Leavitt said he’s not banking on senior wide receiver Jessie Hester, who is out with a hamstring injury, but that he could go today … Despite his season-ending knee injury, senior quarterback Matt Grothe will serve as a game captain Saturday, along with fellow seniors George Selvie, Nate Allen, Kion Wilson and Mo Plancher.