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Holtz, Strong have ties from Gamecocks days



Here's Tuesday night's practice report from Times correspondent Kerry Klecic ...


TAMPA -- Skip Holtz has seen a lot of new faces this season as a first-year coach in the Big East, but the one he’ll see across the field Saturday at Louisville he’ll know very well.

Holtz and fellow first-year Big East coach Charlie Strong built a strong relationship between 1999-02 while coordinators at South Carolina under Holtz’s father, Lou. Holtz was offensive coordinator, and Strong followed Lou Holtz from Notre Dame to serve as defensive coordinator for the Gamecocks, with Holtz saying they found common ground right away because both grew up in Arkansas.

“Charlie and I have been very good friends and stayed in touch over the years,” Holtz said Tuesday. “I’ve got great respect for him and had a lot of fun in the spring going against each other every day. … It was one of those things that when you did practice schedules it was like, ‘That sorry rascal, he’s going to do this, this and this, so today I’m going to add this, this and this.’ And the next day he would throw a wrinkle, and then I would. I just have a lot of respect for him as a football coach.”

USF offensive coordinator Todd Fitch also was on the Gamecocks’ staff at the time, and Fitch also coached with Louisville defensive coordinator Vance Bedford while at Colorado State in 1992.

“It’s fun to compete against your friends,” Fitch said. “For 60 minutes, you want to go beat their brains out and all that, but you respect people like that across the sideline. There’s a lot of respect there.”

Young safeties making moves: Holtz said he’s impressed with how his pair of young safeties, redshirt freshman JaQuez Jenkins and true freshman Mark Joyce, have developed, as they are now pushing sophomore Jon Lejiste and junior Jerrell Young for starting positions.

“Joyce is just getting better and better with every rep he gets and every day in practice,” Holtz said. “I think those two have been playing as much as starters as Lejiste and Young have been.”

This and that: With Louisville running back Bilal Powell possibly out of Saturday’s game because of injury, the Bulls may face the smaller, speedier Jeremy Wright, who was named Big East offensive player of the week after rushing for two touchdowns and 98 yards filling in during a win against Syracuse … Holtz said the most impressive part of Louisville’s team is the strength on its starting offensive line, which has four seniors and has helped Powell gain more than 1,000 yards rushing this season … Young (ankle) and left tackle Jamar Bass (ankle) were held out of practice again Tuesday.

[Last modified: Wednesday, November 10, 2010 10:28am]


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