If Young out, Raymond may return to safety
Here's Tuesday's practice notes from Times correspondent Kerry Klecic ...
TAMPA -- Tuesday’s afternoon practice provided a look as to how the USF secondary may line up if starting safety Jerrell Young, who was held out because of an ankle injury, is not ready for the Big East opener Saturday.
Cornerback Mistral Raymond, who started four games at safety last season, shifted back to safety. And sophomore Kayvon Webster moved up with junior Quenton Washington as a starting cornerback, while sophomore Jon Lejiste stayed in his safety spot.
“It’s still going to be an action-packed secondary,” Raymond said. “That’s how we play. We try to put our playmakers on the field to make plays.”
The move keeps the Bulls’ most experienced players on the field, as backup safeties Mark Joyce (freshman) and JaQuez Jenkins (redshirt freshman), a Lakewood High grad, only have limited playing time. Both were working with the second team in practice.
Young watched practice in street clothes with no brace or cast on his foot. Coach Skip Holtz said he still expects Young to practice sometime during the week.
“Some of the swelling is coming out of it,” Holtz said. “He’s responded to some of the treatments, so I would expect him to be back. We’ll get a better feel (later in the week) with where he is.”
-- Offensive coordinator Todd Fitch said he expects to see a lot more confidence inside the passing game, ranked 97th in the nation with 170.2 yards per game, with USF’s receiving corps now almost back to full strength.
Holtz said wide receiver Sterling Griffin, who had 265 yards receiving and two touchdowns as a freshman, is expected to play for the first time since suffering a dislocated ankle late in the summer. This comes days after leading receiver Dontavia Bogan returned from an ankle injury and caught a touchdown pass against FAU.
“I think (there’s) more confidence of the passing game with (quarterback) B.J. (Daniels) and what he sees,” Fitch said. “He had a second down and 14 and he stuck an end route, and Bogan made the catch. He may not shoot that in there if he doesn’t have confidence in him. So as Sterling works back inside the rotation, I think it will perk B.J. up even more.”
Griffin, speaking to the media for the first time since his injury, said the ankle feels strong. And he said he’s confident he’ll be able to cut on it and help USF against Syracuse.
”It’s really important to come out and send a message to the conference that we’re ready, and we’re one of the top teams in the conference,” he said.
This and That: Want to get a sense for how much blitzing Daniels might see from the Syracuse defense? “They are very active,” Holtz said. They start blitzing coming off the bus.” … A key on Saturday, Holtz said, is containing Syracuse punt returner Mike Holmes, who is seventh in the country with 18.67 yards per return … Starting defensive tackle Terrell McClain missed practice because he had a root canal. He should be fine for Saturday’s game. Backup offensive lineman Danous Estenor was held out of practice with a knee injury. His status is unknown.