Holtz easing up on players after emotional week
TAMPA -- For the second week in a row, USF coach Skip Holtz is scaling back his workouts to make sure his players aren't overly fatigued on game day, but this time, he's worried about the overly emotional aspects of the week leading up to Saturday's home opener against Ball State.
"I worry a little bit about this team this week, just because of the emotions we've been through in the last week," Holtz said. "You talk about not only the opener being Notre Dame and the opportunity we had up there, but to win the game, to (have) it be a six-hour game (due to weather delays), your focus being that long, getting in at 4 o'clock in the morning, going through the emotions with Lee Roy Selmon as a football team ... I feel like now they're tired, fatigued. I've got to look at pulling back a little bit."
Holtz, who ended Wednesday's practice 15 minutes early as rains intensified, said the team will attend Friday's funeral services in Tampa for Selmon, the Bucs legend and former USF athletic director who died Sunday at age 56, two days after suffering a stroke. The Bulls will continue to wear No. 63 stickers on their helmets in remembrance of Selmon, and Holtz said other tributes were being planned for Saturday's game.
"I think getting a lot of sleep is going to be very important before we get into this game Saturday," Holtz said. "I'm going to have to look at our schedule and maybe vary it a bit here over the next couple days from what I've normally done. Overall, I love their attitude, love the way they're working right now."
THIS AND THAT: Defensive tackle Elkino Watson was the only true freshmen to play at Notre Dame, but Holtz said he still expects three more freshmen to play -- receivers Andre Davis and Ruben Gonzalez and fullback/tight end Tye Turner. ... Ball State coach Pete Lembo is familiar with USF, having played USF in 2007 when he was head coach at I-AA Elon. The Phoenix played closely with USF, trailing 7-3 at the half and 14-6 in the third quarter before ultimately falling 28-13. Elon held the ball for more than 35 minutes in the game and matched USF with 19 first downs.