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Football: Rash of injuries hit Verpaele, RBs



USF's sixth practice brought more than its share of injuries, with senior safety Danny Verpaele watching with a boot on his left foot and three running backs suffering injuries during practice.

Verpaele, competing for the starting strong safety job, has a sprained foot but not a break, according to coach Jim Leavitt. Defensive coordinator Wally Burnham said it's "a day-to-day deal," something where he could be back Wednesday or could be out more than a week.

Three running backs went down with injuries -- junior Moise Plancher dislocated his elbow, sophomore Richard Kelly likely broke his right hand and sophomore Aston Samuels injured his left shoulder, though Leavitt said they were able to pop the shoulder back into place.

Leavitt shifted defensive linemen Trent Pupello and Dominique Rocker to tight end, though Rocker will likely only have one day at his new position; Leavitt said he'll move him to running back, the position he starred at in high school, because of the rash of injuries. Leavitt said Pupello had "an outstanding day" at tight end and called Rocker "a Division I running back."

Leavitt hinted he might move one of his senior starting outside linebackers, Tyrone McKenzie and Brouce Mompremier, inside to middle linebacker, because he has concerns about the current middle linebackers' ability to replace a three-year starter and team leader in Ben Moffitt. Sophomore Alonzo McQueen and junior Kion Wilson are currently the top two options in the middle.

"From my standpoint, I'm concerned about the middle linebacker position. I'm really concerned about it," Leavitt said.

Quarterback Matt Grothe was back for his second practice since being held out for two days last week with a sore back. Leavitt said Grothe showed no signs of any lingering effects in Tuesday's drills. ...

[Last modified: Thursday, May 27, 2010 12:17pm]


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