Leavitt says he won't rank Bulls in next poll
Even though his team opened with a 40-7 win against I-AA Wofford on Saturday, USF coach Jim Leavitt said he won't likely have the Bulls -- who he ranked 18th in the preseason -- on his ballot when he submits his vote for the USA Today coaches poll on Tuesday.
"I think you have to come out of the gate a little better," Leavitt said. "I didn't think we came out good enough. I just can't justify it, and I want to be honest with my heart."
Leavitt said USF played "about what I thought" the Bulls would play, but he was impressed with several teams he had lower than USF or not ranked at all on his first ballot. He hadn't ranked BYU or Boise State, who beat ranked opponents in Oklahoma and Oregon, and said he would move up schools like Missouri, Mississippi and Tennessee. Leavitt said he might stop disclosing his ballot after this week's poll but said he "owes it to everyone" to make this one public.
Still may play: True freshman defensive end Ryne Giddins didn't play Saturday despite liberal substitutions late in the game, but Leavitt said the Armwood graduate may play this week at Western Kentucky and that he is "not necessarily" headed for a redshirt this season.
Injury update: Leavitt said he does not know how long sophomore starting strong safety Jerrell Young will be sidelined with a broken right arm, nor has he decided who will replace Young in the starting lineup. Redshirt freshman Jon Lejiste and senior walk-on Mistral Raymond had four tackles each in relief of Young on Saturday, but he said cornerbacks Tyson Butler and George Baker are also options.
Pending: Sophomore safety Charlton Sinclair was not dressed for Saturday's game, and Leavitt said USF is appealing to the NCAA about his eligibility related to an academic issue. Leavitt said Sinclair might not be able to play this season; another scholarship player, receiver Daniel Bryant, is already ineligible this season due to an NCAA academic problem.
Two in the hand: At the end of the first half, after Wofford punter Chris Tommie kicked a loose ball through the end zone for a safety, USF had the option to take the ball around the 11-yard line with one second on the clock, allowing for a potential field goal. Leavitt said his decision to take the safety had nothing to do with kicker Delbert Alvarado, who later connected on a 30-yard field goal.
"I'm not going to take the points off the board there," he said. "If we went for it and had a bad snap or hold or missed it, I'd be kicking myself for taking those points away from our team."