Leavitt Verbatim: ESPN2 interview
Ah, yes, we love the transcribing. USF coach Jim Leavitt did a phone interview with ESPN2 that aired during halftime of Tuesday's exciting Sun Belt showdown between Arkansas State and Louisiana-Monroe.
For those of you not watching the game, here's a quick transcript of the four-minute Q&A. (Yes, the game is on Thursday, but I'm just transcribing, so I write down what they say.)
ESPN: How would you characterize what this game Saturday means to your football team?
Leavitt: It's big, Kevin, I tell you. You have two undefeated teams playing. You've got the Big East out there on national TV. Both teams want to play badly. It's a great showcase game for both programs, for the conference, and whoever wins gets a leg up on the race toward the Big East championship.
ESPN: Coach, I'm so used to hearing coaches say it's all about one game at a time and this isn't bigger than any other game on the schedule. How are you selling this game to your players?
Leavitt: Believe me, this is not a hard one to sell in any way. It is true, every game is that big, you just go one game at a time. But we're back in Big East play, and we had a chance to play Syracuse and that was certainly a big one. There's not a lot of teams in the Big East, so every game, the magnitude is that much bigger. Of course, Cincinnati is ranked in the top 10 in the country and deservedly so. They're tremendous in all aspects of the game. A great challenge like that, how can you not be excited about it?
ESPN: Coach, describe what you see when you watch Cincinnati quarterback Tony Pike on film?
Leavitt: Explosiveness, not only with Tony but their entire offense. Here's a young guy who's 6-foot-6, can make all the throws. And you know, he runs, Kevin, he runs so well. That's what's really something to see. People do not run this guy down. He throws the ball all over the field. He has a great command of the offense. It's just so many explosive plays. He does a great job throwing not only to (Mardy) Gilyard but all the receivers.
ESPN: I want to ask you about your quarterback, Coach. Three weeks ago, you lost Matt Grothe, one of the most important players in the history of your program, to injury. How would you characterize, or what have you been most impressed with in the play of the player who's taken over for Grothe, B.J. Daniels?
Leavitt: Well, in a lot of ways, he's very similar to Matt, because he has such great passion for the game. He loves to be out there. He loves to have the ball in his hands, and he's just a playmaker. He can run, he can throw. As he plays, he'll just get that much better. He's just an exciting guy to have around certainly, and certainly it's exciting to have the ball in his hands. Because again, like I just said, he does so many things with it.
ESPN: Part of the reason your team is undefeated, Cincinnati is undefeated. Coach, some pundits will say even if a Big East conference team finishes the season undefeated, they do not belong in the BCS title game. How do you react to that?
Leavitt: I don't. I really don't. It's a long season. You take one game, like we said before, at a time, and you work through it all. I think at the end of the year, everything will always be cleared up. I don't think there's any question that the Big East doesn't have to defend itself. I think there's been enough merit there, more than enough for the Big East. I don't worry about those things.
ESPN: Regardless, it will be a big game this weekend. South Florida coach Jim Leavitt, thanks for joining us and good health the rest of the season, Coach.
Leavitt: Appreciate it, Kevin. Thanks.