Defense shines in spring scrimmage
I'm here in New Orleans, where LSU is destroying Oklahoma State, but correspondent Joe Rienzi was there this morning when USF held its first scrimmage of the spring. The media had originally been only allowed for the first 30 minutes, but they let him stay the whole time. Here's his report:
-- Brouce Mompremier worked at starting middle linebacker, with Tyrone McKenzie getting a chance at next Saturday’s scrimmage.
"Next week I’m going to put T-Mac in the middle," defensive coordinator Wally Burnham said. "We’re just trying to find the best combination. We’ve had such good middle linebackers here for so many years, and we need to get a guy in there who will solidify the entire defense."
The Bulls are seeking a replacement for Ben Moffitt, headed to the NFL after starting the last three seasons at middle linebacker.
“I’ll play either mike or sam, as long as I can help the team out," Mompremier said. "It’s tough to step into the middle because I have a big mountain to climb just to get to (Moffitt’s) level, but I’ll get some help out there."
-- Defense forced five turnovers. Jerome Murphy and Carlton Williams intercepted Matt Grothe, Sabbath Joseph and Dylan Douglas intercepted Alton Voss, and Mompremier recovered a Mike Ford fumble, which he lateraled to a teammate who ran it in for a touchdown. The defense also blocked two Delbert Alvarado field goals.
-- Alvarado was 2-for-4 on extra points and 1-for-4 on field-goal attempts. Justin Teachey was 3-for-3.
“I was most disappointed in our kicking game," coach Jim Leavitt said. "I didn’t think Delbert Alvarado was kicking very good today, and he’s better than that. I know that. I was happy with our snaps, our holds. We just didn’t kick good. Teachey came in and didn’t miss. So, Justin Teachey did a good job. There’s always a competition.”
-- Tight end Ben Busbee suffered a broken bone in his right hand. Kion Wilson did not play because of an ankle injury, but should be back by the end of spring, according to Burnham. Jarriett Buie was not at the scrimmage at all; Leavitt said he told him he was not participating.
-- Stats: Grothe went 10-for-15 for 137 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs; Grant Gregory went 12-for-14 for 143 yards and two TDs; Alton Voss went 1-for-3, 22 yards, 2 INT. Mike Ford had the only rushing touchdown, finishing with 9 yards on eight carries.
“I didn’t think we made real good decisions at quarterback," Leavitt said. "Those turnovers didn’t have to happen. It was more quarterback decision-making. I’d have to say Grant played better than Matt today. I don’t think there’s any question."
-- Grothe was the first-team holder on field goals and extra points.
-- Two players were not allowed to participate after being involved in scuffles with teammates. Taurus Johnson (got into a shoving match with Louis Gachette) — and Ryan Schmidt, who was taken to the ground by Quenton Washington after he shoved Washington by the facemask.
-- Gregory hit Dontavia Bogan for a 53-yard TD, and walk-on Jeffrey Wilson laid out safety Charlton Sinclair with a huge block.
-- Senior safety Danny Verpaele still had a walking boot on his sprained left foot, and none of the running backs injured last week -- Richard Kelly, Mo Plancher, Aston Samuels -- were on the sidelines.
Thoughts? Comments? Questions at the midway point of spring drills?