Giddins, Stirrups, Virgin join Bulls at practice
Good news on the missing newcomer front -- defensive end Ryne Giddins, defensive tackle Leslie Stirrups and quarterback Isaac Virgin, missing from the first two days of practice, joined the Bulls for Saturday's morning practice, as did junior running back Mike Ford.
USF coach Jim Leavitt now has all but one of the 22 scholarship players expected to join the team this fall -- junior college defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul hasn't arrived yet, but is expected to do so after he finishes online classes he's taking at home to finish his associate of arts degree.
I'm actually writing this from the upper level of the Sun Dome -- a Big East game kind of crowd here this morning for the first of two summer commencement ceremonies. USF has two current football players, defensive end George Selvie and receiver Jessie Hester, getting their degrees today, so figured I'd file from high up here and perhaps see what the reception is like for Selvie.
Update: Big cheers in the Sun Dome for Selvie, who waved to the crowd and greeted USF president Judy Genshaft with a big hug. Other notes ...
-- First day in shoulder pads for actual contact today, and Leavitt opened practice with board drills -- that's two players of similar size, one offense, one defense, getting in position and launching at each other like rams on the Discovery Channel. It's a good way for players to let off steam and an easy way for a player to quickly earn a reputation among his peers.
The most impressive showing might have been linebacker Sam Barrington, a freshman who powered running back Jamar Taylor straight backwards in their meeting, drawing oohs and aahs from teammates. Redshirt freshman tackle Damien Edwards held his own against starting d-tackle Cory Grissom, and after one of the smallest players on the team, speedy running back Lindsey Lamar, had his turn, backs coach Carl Franks politely tapped him on on the shoulder and said "that's why we're going to get you in the weight room."
-- Defensive tackle Anthony Hill tweaked his left hamstring running onto the field. Didn't look like anything too serious ...
-- Junior Sabbath Joseph, the starter right now at weakside linebacker, has dropped his No. 43 and picked up No. 11.
-- With Selvie over here at the Sun Dome, the first-team defensive line had second-team end Craig Marshall working at defensive tackle and sophomore Patrick Hampton working at end. Grissom was working with the second-team line at defensive tackle, next to Keith McCaskill.
-- Walk-on kicker Eric Schwartz was working on kickoffs, while Justin Brockhaus-Kann and walk-on Austin Pullaro were kicking punts with starter Delbert Alvarado.
-- USF commitment Brion Carnes, the quarterback from Bradenton Manatee, stopped in to watch practice with a pair of teammates. Stopping for a picture, Carnes flashed the Bulls sign with his hand, a good sign for fans worried about his seemingly iffy commitment to USF.