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LB Moffitt out with hand injury



If there's one thing we've heard (and said) consistently in the past month, it's that linebacker is USF's strongest position, with three experienced starters back in Stephen Nicholas, Ben Moffitt and Patrick St. Louis. The catch? Wondering what the depth was like behind them.

So it's fairly big news that Moffitt, the junior who starts at middle linebacker, was watching practice Monday afternoon, his left hand and wrist in a hard cast. Defensive coordinator Wally Burnham said it wasn't a break as far as he knew, but rather a bad bruise from when Moffitt was "stepped on or something" in Monday's morning practice. The skeptic in me says a hard cast seems like an awful lot for a bruise, but what I have been told is that the injury isn't anything that will sideline Moffitt from any games. He'll sit out of today's practice, then be eased back into contact from there. ...

I'm not going to say anything here, except give you two quotes from coach Jim Leavitt about the linebacking situation, one from before Moffitt's injury, and another from after Monday's practice.

Friday, asked where the depth chart is clear: "The linebackers, they're by far the best. Stephen Nicholas, Moffitt, St. Louis, nobody's going to get close to those guys. They're not even in that ballgame."

Monday, talking about the linebackers: "I feel like we can play right now with our starting linebackers. Our backup linebackers, Brouce Mompremier, I feel like is a starter. We've got like four guys we feel good about. Brouce I trust."

It could just be that Mompremier had a good weekend, I suppose.

After a week of practice, my gut feeling is that Tavarious Robinson will redshirt, but I'm not so sure about Thed Watson. With freshman Danny Tolley held out of some drills Monday with a pelvic injury, Watson was lining up with what looked to be a first-team line at left tackle. He could be working his way back into the coaches' good graces.

Defensive tackle: The starters right now, Burnham says, would be Allen Cray and Woody George. The second team would be Richard Clebert and walk-on Nick Schuyler. That speaks well of Schuyler, who we first wrote about this spring. It doesn't ultimately speak well of the depth situation at defensive tackle. Julian Riley hasn't been able to do much because of injuries, and James Jackson still hasn't shown up, five days after classes ended at Tallahassee Community College. Asked if Jackson would be part of this year's team, Burnham said "I don't think so." Jackson was just a one-year guy, but this is a year where USF could use his help inside.

Other quick hits ...

-- Freshmen emerging: Leavitt singled out receiver Carlton Mitchell and running back Keeley Dorsey as pulling ahead in the race to see which true freshmen get to play this fall.

-- Freshman linebacker Brandon Peguese is now working at defensive end, the position where he racked up 17.5 sacks as a high school senior. It's the same move that freshman Josh Smiley made last week, but Smiley now has a boot on his left foot and will be out until the end of next week.

-- It's a time of year where I'm studying rosters, trying to memorize jersey numbers, etc. My current nemesis? Defensive back Jerome Murphy, who wore No. 34 in spring, then started fall with No. 13 and is now wearing No. 3 in practice. That, by the way, pushes No. 3 -- with Murphy and Pat Julmiste -- into the top spot in my Public Address Nightmare Top Five, where USF's double-numbering causes announcers in other stadiums to accidentally give quarterbacks credit for tackles and defensive backs credit for passing touchdowns. My current top five, based on best chances of both playing in the same game to optimize press-box confusion:

1. No. 3 -- Pat Julmiste, Jerome Murphy

2. No. 5 -- Ricky Ponton, Nate Allen

3. No. 21 -- Keeley Dorsey, Trae Williams

4. No. 8 -- Matt Grothe, Courtney Denson

5. No. 15 -- Grant Gregory, Sam Miller

(I know, fans of the No. 23 Jason Sherman/Jamaal Jenkins car and the No. 12 Antonio Cox/Anthony Severino tandem, I hear your support ...)

-- A few basketball notes. First, walk-on Chris Capko, four words that have rolled off the tongue plenty in the past two years, is now former walk-on Chris Capko. With two scholarships available for this year, Robert McCullum did a good thing by rewarding Capko with a scholarship. I doubt any walk-on in a major conference played more minutes than Capko did last season, starting 23 games and finishing seventh in the Big East in assists. And between the two local papers and USF's official site, there's some fun blogs from the team's trip to Italy. I feel bad bumping Melvin Buckley out of the top spot on the blog ...

-- Also, Jose Fernandez has lost one of his top recruits from his nationally touted freshman class. Ashley McCray, a 6-foot-4 center from Sanford, did not qualify academically, and since Big East schools can't accept non-qualifiers, she's likely going to choose another school that can take her, though she still has to sit out this year and has to pay her own way for a year. The rest of Fernandez' class -- six others, with plenty of size for the frontcourt -- is academically cleared and good to go.

[Last modified: Thursday, May 27, 2010 11:14am]


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