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Five quick USF football thoughts ...



Spent the afternoon at Capogna's Dugout, where Jim Leavitt made a rain-soaked appearance at the Pinellas County preseason tailgate, then signed autographs for more than an hour for a great turnout in Clearwater.

Leavitt gave a quick rundown of the positions, which netted some newsy things, and I could learn more Monday as I've got an 8 a.m. tee time in the morning for the USF media golf outing, playing with Mike Canales and Phil McGeoghan. Hadn't golfed in two years before playing an executive nine in Lutz on Friday night. Rusty, but I was bad to begin with -- honestly thrilled to par the 90-yard ninth hole. It's a scramble in the morning, so any contribution I make will be gravy for me. Quick thoughts ...

-- Leavitt ran off his current starting offensive line: Jake Sims at center, Zach Hermann at right guard, Sampson Genus at left guard, Mark Popek at right tackle and Jamar Bass at left tackle. Bass' top competition for the starting LT job is Jeremiah Warren. It's not a given that junior college standout Carlos Savala will be here for the fall -- more on that as soon as I can -- but Leavitt is pleased with Bass.

-- Leavitt mentioned moving senior corner Jerome Murphy around in the secondary, perhaps to safety or as the nickel defensive back. With so many spread offenses in the Big East, I think USF's base defense will again be a nickel, so I'm now thinking the inexperience at outside linebacker isn't as big a concern as having three first-year starters in the nickel secondary. Leavitt said Jerrell Young will be the starting strong safety, and I'd say Quenton Washington is best bet at one corner spot and redshirt freshman Jon Lejiste at nickel. One interesting name Leavitt mentioned Sunday was redshirt freshman George Baker.

-- At linebacker, Kion Wilson is a surefire starter in the middle, but Leavitt said to "watch out for Chris Robinson having a breakout year" at strongside. Again, the strongside linebacker typically comes out in the nickel package, so Sabbath Joseph at weakside may have a big role. If Sunday's talk means anything, he expects more from the freshman defensive ends -- Julius Forte, Ryne Giddins and Luke Sager -- than the incoming linebackers, who he didn't mention at all. Again, could just be oversight ...

-- Asked about injured kicker Maikon Bonani, who faces at least six weeks in a back brace recovering from a 35-foot fall eight days ago, Leavitt said he "is healthy. He may or may not kick this year," but the focus is that he's OK. "I'm excited about Delbert," Leavitt said. "I think he'll do great." On Matt Grothe? "I've never seen him so focused and serious," Leavitt said. "He's a very determined young man."

-- Leavitt was asked about the white helmets. Will they return? "Yes," Leavitt said. "I don't know when." The most popular speculation from fans seems to be the Friday night home game against West Virginia, with the Miami game a close second. ...

-- Interesting connection on the new commitment, linebacker Curtis Weatherspoon. His juco, Dean College, scrimmaged against the Naval Academy Prep School last fall, where the offensive coordinator was ... Phil McGeoghan, USF's new receivers coach. Weatherspoon remembered the scrimmage, said he came in and forced a fumble on the first play.

[Last modified: Thursday, May 27, 2010 6:50pm]


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