CB Washington impresses coaches with toughness
TAMPA -- USF defensive backs coach Rick Smith saw a toughness in starter cornerback Quenton Washington in Saturday's overtime win at Miami that fit right in with the junior's best game of the season.
A collision left Washington with three of his lower front teeth bent backwards into his mouth, but Washington didn't let that end his day, getting outfitted with a mouthpiece to keep the teeth in place and returning to the field. His deflection of a pass to Miami's Leonard Hankerson in the end zone forced Miami to settle for a field goal, keeping the Bulls within a touchdown late in the game.
"I'm shocked," Smith said of Washington's play. "I don't know if he can play any better than he's played the last two weeks. He has really played well. He's really showed some toughness, which is something he and I went round and round about in the spring. Some days, he didn't feel like it. I'm shocked the way he's come around."
Injuries to cornerbacks Mistral Raymond and Kayvon Webster forced Smith to play little-used reserves Ricardo Dixon and George Baker, but he was pleased with their play under difficult circumstances.
"The one that's going to be a pleasant surprise next year is Dixon," Smith said. "He's got some talent. He's growing up."
INJURY UPDATE: Quarterback B.J. Daniels, whose status for Saturday's game remains uncertain, took "a lot of mental reps" according to Holtz but was unable to test his injured leg in drills, making it more likely that the Bulls will give true freshman Bobby Eveld his first start against Connecticut in Saturday's regular-season finale. ... Holtz said senior defensive end Craig Marshall is "probable" to play after missing four games with a broken foot. Another injured end, Patrick Hampton (ankle) will not play, nor will reserve defensive tackle Luke Sager (shoulder). ... Holtz said if Daniels can't go, his backup behind Eveld would likely be receiver Evan Landi, who played quarterback as recently as this spring.