Kravitz settling in at N.C. State
The keen eyes over on the message boards at thebullspen.com picked up a story in today's News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C. -- first newspaper I ever wrote for -- about former USF defensive coordinator Rick Kravitz, who's now the special teams coach at N.C. State.
Story re-affirms something we wrote about here on the blog this spring, that Kravitz' decision to leave USF wasn't a money issue. Again, Kravitz made $104,000 at USF, plus an $8,000 bowl bonus, and is making $115,000 at N.C. State, arguably with less job security. Given that all of USF's assistants got at least a $19,000 bump from last year, it's safe to say he even took a pay cut to moev to the Research Triangle, where his new wife had a job offer in pharmaceuticals.
Couple of quick notes. First, the biggest position change this week in football is quarterback Nate Allen shifting to safety. On Monday, coach Jim Leavitt said Allen was staying at quarterback and redshirting, and by Wednesday, Allen apparently decided he wanted to be on the field this fall. Now he's a free safety, and by Friday morning, Leavitt was calling him "as good a safety as I've seen in a long time." Sounds like USF wasn't fighting the move too much ...
One of the highlights of practice -- that we're allowed to see, anyway -- are the "board drills," which put two players against each other straight ahead, just raw strength and technique, one pushing the other back. Few things seem to get the players more fired up -- things spilled over a bit when a pair of walk-ons, defensive end Treco Bellamy and guard Morgan Mathis, went at it, with a few punches even being thrown. Bellamy's giving up 55 pounds in that one, but the converted linebacker showed himself to be a physical guy.
Bulls added another walk-on lineman Thursday in former Indian Rocks Christian player Warren Garrison. Interesting addition, what Leavitt said is basically another big body for the scout-team offensive line. Garrison has been at three junior colleges and spent the past two semesters at USF ... Saw a little of new running back Shawn Cannon, from Highland Community College in Kansas, whose arrival came as Walt Smith missed practice with what Leavitt said was academic issues he had to clear up befoer he could return to playing.
Went to basketball practice on Thursday night and watched as the players scrimmaged for an hour and a half against a group of former players and others, including Reggie Kohn and B.B. Waldon. The group going to Italy, with a little help from transfers Jesus Verdejo and Kentrell Gransberry, who aren't allowed to make the trip, led almost the entire way, but Kohn hit some big shots in the last minute to pull out a one-point win. In a 112-111 game, I"m guessing Kohn scored at least 40. Seeing a little more offense from guard Chris Capko and forward McHugh Mattis -- those two were rarely given respect from opposing defenses last season as threats to hit or even take a jump shot, so that's a good development for USF's scoring balance.
On a sad note, send some kind thoughts and prayers to redshirt freshman guard Chris Howard, whose father passed away this week. Howard flew back home to suburban Washington, D.C., to be with his family. He'll return to the team tonight, in time to fly out to New York and Italy on Saturday. Howard's endured two ACL tears in the past year, and now this -- a lot of adversity for a guy who just turned 20 on Tuesday. He still has things to keep his head up, like hopes of returning healthy for the Big East season in January, and his 2-year-old daughter, Aaliyah, whose name is tattooed on his right calf.
I'll throw a plug in for men's soccer's exhibition Saturday night at USF against the University of Tampa, a first chance to see what might be the best team on campus this season. The Bulls, picked to repeat as Big East Red Division champs, beat UT 7-0 last year to keep the Rowdies Cup on the north side of town ...