Leavitt on 'best practice of spring' and more
In its final practice before Saturday's spring football game, USF's football team bounced back Wednesday with what coach Jim Leavitt said was "by far the best practice of the spring, not even close, across the board, everything."
"I think our coaches really got their attention," Leavitt said. "I was really happy. Maybe it's just getting ready for the spring game. We'll see what kind of mood they're in next week when we do two more after the spring game."
USF has two practices available, and Leavitt said the team will practice again Tuesday and Wednesday, giving a rare chance to follow up on good and bad things from Saturday's game.
Leavitt reiterated that his only real goal from Saturday is to get through the game without injuries -- fans hoping to see new wrinkles from two new coordinators may have to wait until September to really get a sense of the changes on both sides of the ball.
"We're not going to do any blitzing. We're going to run a couple of coverages, and offensively they're not going to do much," he said. "The game will move quickly. It will move along. ... I'm more interested honestly in the next Tuesday and Wednesday."
-- Leavitt will run the 40-yard dash for stopwatches and USF video cameras Thursday, with his sprint to be shown on the video screens at Raymond James Stadium as part of Saturday's spring game. Four students will run the 40, hoping to beat Leavitt's time -- which the coach says shouldn't be hard.
"If anybody can't beat me, that would be really sad," Leavitt said. "I feel sorry for the students -- if there's a student that doesn't beat me, that guy is ..."
Leavitt can be pretty funny when he's self-deprecating -- here's a link to video of the interview at USF's official site. Asked if there's another head coach in the Big East who would be faster than himself, the 52-year-old Leavitt said "I would think all of them," saying that he and West Virginia's Bill Stewart, 56, would "probably be neck and neck." Leavitt said his strength isn't speed, so much as persistence.
"I'm an Energizer bunny. I just go," Leavitt said. "I don't go anywhere fast, but I just keep going."
Will he pick which direction he's running? "I'm going with the wind, no question," he said. "If I have a strong wind, I might crack a 5.9. And we're going to find wind. We'll find a slope. I might go downhill. Downhill, with the wind, I think I can get a 5.9."
Can he outrun Florida's Urban Meyer? "Oh, yeah, that'd be easy," said Leavitt, breaking into laughter. Leavitt ran often with Oklahoma's Bob Stoops when the two were assistants at Kansas State -- "He runs flat-footed," Leavitt says. "I think I might get (FSU's Bobby) Bowden," he said. "And I said that about Urban because I've known Urban a long time. I'm sure Urban could (not) care less, and so could I, who I can outrun and who I can't. I don't know why we're doing it, but it's exercise for me, so that's good."
-- In other news, the State Attorney's Office has decided to file a misdemeanor charge of battery against Jamie DeGerome, USF's video coordinator for football, for a February incident on campus with a 22-year-old USF student.
Kyle DiGiacamo, 22, told USF police that DeGerome, 41, grabbed him by his shirt, and that when he tried to twist away, DeGerome's wrist hit him in the mouth. DeGerome, who declined to comment through USF's sports information department, is scheduled for arraignment on April 27.
-- Former USF men's basketball coach Robert McCullum was considered for the head coaching opening at Liberty, according to the Lynchburg (Va.) News Advance. The job went to former Marquette assistant Dale Layer. McCullum was a finalist for the opening at Tennessee State as well.
-- Congrats to USF's women's basketball team, which got a single vote in the final Coaches Top 25 poll of the season. The Bulls, who finished 27-10 as WNIT champions, got just one vote-point, while Boston College, which lost at home to USF in the WNIT semifinals, got seven vote-points.