Leavitt on RB Ford: 'You keep moving forward'
USF coach Jim Leavitt declined to elaborate on the nature of the rules violation that has junior running back Mike Ford, but said the Bulls will be fine with the remaining backs, led by senior Mo Plancher.
"I don't really think about anything other than you keep moving forward," Leavitt said. "Mike's a good guy. He really has a good heart. I love him dearly. You've got to do the right things. That's all there is to it. You have a son, your son messes up, you can get very angry, you can let them know how angry you are, but you still love your son. That's how I feel."
Ford's suspension could be related to USF's new policy on unexcused absences -- five missed classes this summer would equate to a two-game suspension and would explain why Ford was absent from the first practice of the fall. Consider this quote Monday from running backs coach Carl Franks, about how dependable Plancher has shown himself to be.
"I trust (Plancher), which is one of the highest compliments a coach can pay a player," Franks said. "You trust him to be there all the time, to do what's right, to go to class, to be eligible, to block the right blitzer, everything."
-- USF was not able to get an MRI exam on the injured right knee of running back Jamar Taylor, who will have the test early Tuesday morning. Plancher missed all but one game of the 2006 season with a torn ACL, and Franks said that injury is "just like it appears Jamar may have," though he stressed that final results won't be known until after an MRI exam.
-- Leavitt said it's "concerning" that receiver Jessie Hester continues to be limited by a foot/ankle injury he suffered in April during spring practice. "I was hoping he wouldn't be out this long," Leavitt said. "I'm still optimistic about him playing the opener. It'd be hard for him to play in the opener if he's not back out going by Monday or Tuesday. ... Jessie's played a lot of football. Your conditioning, your timing with the quarterback, all those things."
-- Junior offensive lineman Jake Sims, competing for starting jobs at center and right tackle, continues to be limited by a muscle strain in his neck. "We're holding our breath a little bit," Leavitt said. "We're going to wait a little while with him and ... give that as much time as we need on that."