Fan Fest and media day: More USF notes
Good turnout for USF's Fan Fest at Raymond James Stadium, with the school estimating 4,000 fans came out to see Jim Leavitt and the Bulls. Was nice to meet a handful of the regular commenters and readers out there -- always fun to get a face to place with a name. I'll have lots of notes in the next few hours -- talked to 29 players in two-plus hours -- so keep checking back ...
-- More from Leavitt on Jamar Taylor's injured right knee: "We don't know how severe it is. We're going to have to check on him Monday. We'll just have to wait and see. ... Taylor is a tremendous asset to this football team, there's no question, so I don't want to think negative thoughts. We thought before the season he might our starting running back."
Check out the order in which Leavitt rattles off the other running backs who could step up: "We've got Mo Plancher, Aston Samuels, Lindsey Lamar is getting a lot of work, and Mike Ford, you know. We do have Kelly, who has played a little bit, but he's a bigger back, to change the pace a little bit. It is what it is. The thing is Taylor's on all our special teams as well." I'm not surprised to hear Plancher first, but Ford fourth?
Taylor was at Fan Fest on crutches, and when a young fan asked if he could be back for the season opener, he said "Hopefully."
-- Leavitt took the microphone and addressed the crowd for two minutes. His words: "Can you believe it's another football season? It's about time. We've had the best crowds certainly in our history -- we were No. 1 in the nation two years ago in increased attendance, that's in the entire nation. We're excited about the Big East race. We're excited about our entire season, and we're excited about playing Florida State and Miami. These guys have worked very hard. We're late today because we had a scrimmage that lasted quite a bit longer than I thought. They went about 100 or so plays. Believe me, I, our staff and our players absolutely love you. We mean that from the bottom of our hearts. This program has been built from the grass roots, one at a time. The fabric is strong. We've gone to four bowl games in a row, which is great. We understand that the next step has to be a championship. We know that. Thank you so much for being here in one of the greatest stadiums on Earth. How about the fact that our home field is where the Super Bowl was. That's pretty good. Thank you so much for being out here and go Bulls."