Bulls RB Taylor carted off with knee injury
Junior running back Jamar Taylor, competing to be the Bulls' primary ball carrier, was carted off USF's practice field after injuring his right knee during Saturday's first scrimmage of the preseason.
"We don't know how bad it is, so we're going to have to wait and see," Leavitt said. "(He was) running the ball. He was cutting to the inside, cut to the left. We think it's a medial (collateral ligament) problem. We'll have to see."
Taylor was limited by an ankle injury last season, but entered the season with junior Mike Ford and senior Mo Plancher as USF's top running backs. The Bulls open their season in three weeks, with the first Big East game seven weeks off. Linebacker Sabbath Joseph was taken off the field on a cart as well, but Leavitt said he was only dehydrated.
-- Leavitt said the defense held the advantage in the scrimmage, except at the goal line, where the offense scored every time. He wasn't overwhelmed by his team's progress through the first 10 days of practice.
"There's nowhere that we're ready for a game yet," Leavitt said. "You can tell that with the first group. ... We've got a ways to go. If there's a year that we need the extra time, it's this year. You've got two new coordinators, a young offensive line. We lost (22) seniors. That just doesn't go unnoticed. You don't have (22) seniors on your team and all the sudden, you're better right away than you were. It doesn't mean we can't be a better football team this year. We're not today."
-- Still three weeks before the opener, but a lot of key starters were held out: receivers Jessie Hester (foot) and A.J. Love (knee), defensive tackles Cory Grissom (ankle) and Terrell McClain (foot).
-- First player Leavitt mentioned? Freshman running back Lindsey Lamar, who "ran it very well, was one of the highlights," along with junior Aston Samuels. Receiver Carlton Mitchell had a touchdown catch as well, and none of the three quarterbacks distinguished himself from the others.
-- Defensively, Leavitt mentioned three key seniors -- defensive end George Selvie ("his normal practice, he was absolutely outstanding"), linebacker Kion Wilson ("really, really good") and safety Nate Allen, who had an interception. Redshirt freshman George Baker also had an interception
-- Leavitt, on the three backup goalkeepers sent over Friday from soccer for a workout: "Great guys," Leavitt said. "Still searching high and low for kickers."
-- Leavitt has Big East officials in today, both to officiate the scrimmage and go over rules changes.
-- The Orlando Sentinel's Mike Bianchi, following up on Jim Leavitt's comments about Central Florida, writes this: "Did you see the headline in the Sentinel earlier this week that said USF Coach Jim Leavitt was taking "a jab" at UCF by saying the Knights aren't exactly "a juggernaut right now." That's not taking a jab; that's stating a fact."
-- From the random banter department, Leavitt has started keeping a tape recorder in his pocket during practices to jot down notes to himself.
"I used to always have it, the first seven or eight years, and then I broke it," Leavitt explained. "Then they got me shorts with no pockets. Now, with the addition of new pockets, saved up, I think it cost us $54."
Leavitt called it "newfangled," but he's still using minicassettes. I've been a digital guy for years and currently rock an Olympus VN-4100PC, but Leavitt is going old-school with the tapes.
"I tried digital. That's what I had that broke," Leavitt said. "It was supposed to last forever, like never have a problem. These (holding current recorder) have batteries, the old batteries. Those have, what do you call those things, discs? Solonoid discs? You know, that might be totally wrong, but it sounds good."
We further digress to reminiscing about the humble days in the trailers, where USF's coaches dug the holes to lay the cable for their then-high-tech computer system.
"We had various jobs to do: clean the bathrooms, clean the toilets, clean the windows," Leavitt said. "I remember Mark Stoops, d-coordinator, at Arizona now, he was very upset because he drew a number and it said 'Clean the bathrooms.' He said 'I refuse to clean the bathrooms.' I said 'Cmon, Mark. I'll clean the bathrooms.' He didn't really do a good job. I did it."
I asked if current defensive coordinator Joe Tresey now cleans the bathrooms as well.
"We actually have people that do the cleaning, and boy, are they loved," said Leavitt, remarkably chatty as he can only be when there is no game for three more weeks. "The guy we have right now is J.J. ... I've been giving him a hard time because you have to kind of earn, you know, your right. He's incredible. He gets in there with the headphones, and he's moving. He's very loved, I'll tell you right now."
See you guys at Fan Fest. I'm the guy with the goatee and the digital recorder ...