Leavitt declines all questions about incident
The end of Wednesday's football practice, as the first opportunity for USF coach Jim Leavitt to publicly answer questions about the allegations that he hit a player in the face during halftime of a game last month, drew a large contingent of media members from local newspapers and radio and television stations.
But Leavitt declined to answer any questions about the alleged incident, saying he didn't want to take away from the university's investigation into what did or did not occur during halftime of USF's win against Louisville on Nov. 21.
"I'm not going to talk about all the other things that are going on," Leavitt said. "I don't think that'd be fair to the whole deal. You can save your questions as far as that goes."
You can watch video of Leavitt's interview here on USF's official site, GoUSFbulls.com.
Asked if he was concerned that the attention surrounding the incident would be a distraction as the team prepares for the Jan. 2 International Bowl in Toronto against Northern Illinois, Leavitt again declined to comment.
"I'm not going to visit about all that stuff. I'm sorry. I hope you don't mind," Leavitt said. "I'd just rather be honest. I'm just talking about practice. Those are the things I'd just as soon talk about. ... You can ask me other things. The weather out here is beautiful, we live in paradise, all those kinds of things. Those things are neat."
Walk-on sophomore running back Joel Miller, the player that a report from AOL sports site Fanhouse.com says Leavitt grabbed by the throat and hit twice in the face, left practice early. Leavitt said that was because of a shoulder injury suffered in USF's loss to Connecticut on Dec. 5.
"He's fine. He just has to heal it up," Leavitt said.
Asked one more time if the attention was a distraction to himself, Leavitt again declined to comment.
"I'm just going to talk about practice," he said. "You've got to live every day, enjoy every day, go after it. I'm a blessed guy."
-- Just as an addendum before we get the basketball live blog started in an hour or so -- USF will be without starting guard Justin Leemow for tonight's game against Central Florida. Leemow had to leave the team to be in New York with his grandfather, who is in failing health. Leemow is expected to rejoin the team in time for its two games in Las Vegas this weekend.
USF has eight players available for the game, including walk-on Ryan Kardok, who is likely the first guard off the bench.