Leavitt pleased with second scrimmage
USF held its second full intrasquad scrimmage of the preseason on Wednesday night, and since the media isn't allowed to watch the scrimmage, I'll yield to USF's sports information department, which has all sorts of good details. Next thing you know, the SIDs will only be allowed to watch the first half-hour.
Anyway, check out the writeup on USF's official site -- a defensive touchdown with a lateral from Jarriett Buie to George Selvie, and an impressive 28-yard run by Tyson Butler. The latest word from offensive coordinator Greg Gregory is that Matt Grothe could return to practice this week, but definitely will be back for Monday, emphasizing caution with his hip injury.
Here's correspondent Brendan Galella's report after talking with both coordinators after the scrimmage:
The Bulls' second scrimmage of the summer saw backup quarterback Grant Gregory take a bulk of the snaps with the first team with Matt Grothe out with his hip injury. The team ran approximately 50 offensive plays, resulting in two touchdowns on five drives. Gregory was able to find tight end Cedric Hill for one score, and freshman running back Aston Samuels scored the other on the ground.
“The offense did some good things and some bad things,” offensive coordinator Greg Gregory said. “We didn’t turn the ball over in the red zone, I think we had one holding penalty and we were better from that standpoint.”
Grothe has missed the last two days of practice after being hit on the hip during a throw. Although the sophomore quarterback was held out of practice the coaching staff isn’t too concerned about the injury forcing him to miss the opener against Elon on Sept.1.
“He’ll be back tomorrow, Friday or Monday, one of the three. We’ll see, he might be back by Monday for sure, maybe sooner than that,” Gregory said. “It’s amazing what game dedication is like. They heal up real fast on game day.”
The offensive line has been injury-plagued nearly all month but Walter Walker was the only projected starter to be held out of the scrimmage. Running back Ben Williams is still entrenched as the starter, holding off perhaps the deepest position on the team.
“Without a doubt Ben Williams is our toughest football player on the offensive side of the ball,” Gregory said. “Dependable and reliable and we know what we’re going to get.” Freshman Mike Ford carried the ball a few times and “had a couple of hard runs” according to Gregory.
Defensively the Bulls have been led by their secondary, which includes Mike Jenkins and Trae Williams.
“The secondary has been playing good ball, especially that first group, I think that is the strongest point of our defense. That is our strongest area,” defensive coordinator Wally Burnham said. “We have kids that have played a long time for us and know what to expect. That’s the key right there: knowing the system. They’ve been real sharp.”
Throughout the year the biggest position battles on USF have been at the outside linebacker, with Tyrone McKenzie and Chris Robinson competing for time on the strongside and Brouce Mompremier and Donte Spires battling for weakside duties.
An ankle injury to Robinson earlier in the month has allowed McKenzie to claim the starting position heading into the game against Elon. Robinson returned to practice Monday but has played sparingly.
“It was a good battle between (McKenzie) and Chris (Robinson) but Tyrone has put in the work and if Chris isn’t a lot better by Saturday then Tyrone will definitely be starting.”
-- And just to give you guys some notice: I'm due to be a guest on "College Football Live" on ESPN on Thursday at 2:30 p.m., talking by phone with Rece Davis about USF football. (They'd told me 3:30, but the Little League World Series starts at 3, so looks like the show's an hour early Thursday).