Bulls remember Bearcats QB Collaros well
Here are Tuesday's practice notes from Times correspondent Kerry Klecic:
TAMPA -- The image of Cincinnati quarterback Zach Collaros crossing the goal line for a game-changing, 75-yard touchdown last season still hasn’t left Jerrell Young’s mind.
“I turned around and saw him running,” said the USF junior safety, who chased Collaros as broke into the open field and put the Bearcats up for good in a win at Raymond James Stadium. “I tried to catch him, but he was fast … That kind of sparked in my mind. I didn’t forget it.”
It was one of the many plays Collaros made coming off the bench for the injured Tony Pike. He totaled 204 yards of total offense in a quarter and a half and caught the USF defense off guard with his ability to make plays.
How unfamiliar of Collaros were the Bulls entering that game? In pregame preparation, USF’s defense received a packet of player bios of Cincinnati’s personnel on offense. He wasn’t listed.
Entering Friday’s road game, the Bulls are far more familiar with Collaros, who has emerged as one of the nation’s most efficient quarterbacks this season. He has thrown 17 touchdowns with just three interceptions and is ranked 10th in the country with a passer rating of 163.6.
“There are a lot of (defensive players) up there watching film the last couple days,” said coach Skip Holtz. “I think our defense is starting to build a little attitude. I think our defense is starting to build a little pride amongst themselves with what they’re doing … They are very aware of what Zach did to them a year ago. I don’t think it’s so much the taste in their mouth as it is the challenge.”
Young wishes paralyzed Rutgers player the best: Most of the talk this week around the Big East hasn’t been about football, rather the status of Rutgers junior defensive tackle Eric LeGrand, who was paralyzed from the neck down after making a tackle during a game Saturday.
Young, who was roommates with former USF linebacker Brouce Mompremier when he suffered a neck injury that hospitalized him during a game at FIU in 2008, said Tuesday night that he hopes LeGrand makes a full recovery soon.
“We battle, but all in all, we’re brothers in the Big East,” he said. “We all represent the same thing.”
Young remembers watching in horror as Mompremier left the field in an ambulance. Mompremier fully recovered later that season and returned briefly, but ultimately chose to end his career early rather than risk further injury.
“I was shook,” he said. “I saw he wasn’t moving. I cried. I mean, just to see another brother down and knowing that’s your roommate and you’re so close and to have that bond — it really hit home.”
This and That: Holtz said sophomore running back Demetris Murray, USF’s second-leading rusher with 262 yards, will play against Cincinnati. Murray has been limited by an ankle injury in the last three weeks … Holtz said with so many players switching to wide receiver this season, “it’s the land of misfit toys right now.” Evan Landi (QB), Lindsey Lamar (RB), Joel Miller (RB) and Terrence Mitchell (CB) have moved this season … Defensive coordinator Mark Snyder said USF has a tough challenge in stopping Bearcats running back Isaiah Pead, who is averaging 8.8 yards per carry this season.