More notes from Wednesday's practice ...
The big news from Wednesday's morning practice was freshman Danous Estenor getting shifted to offensive line -- at the end of the half-hour the media is allowed to see practice, he was working with the first team at right tackle.
Estenor's more likely a second-teamer, but USF wouldn't move him to offense unless the coaches (a) thought he could make an impact there and (b) felt confident in the existing depth at defensive tackle. If the Bulls go with a veteran lineup that has sophomore Jake Sims as a reserve, it might allow Sims to focus on playing center -- where he could start in 2009 -- while Estenor could join redshirt freshmen Jeremiah Warren and Mike McGowan as the top backups at tackle.
Warren watched practice Wednesday on crutches, with his injured right foot in a boot for the second day in a row. USF coach Jim Leavitt said the injury isn't likely to sideline Warren more than a week. When USF lined up on offense early in Wednesday's practice, senior guard Matt Huners was held out, as will often be the case in preseason. The first line, left to right, was Marc Dile, Zach Hermann, Jake Griffin, Ryan Schmidt and Jake Sims; the second had Mike McGowan, Chaz Hine, Keith McCaskill, Joe Herzhauser and Estenor. (Walk-on Jason Fox, who has worked at fullback and d-line, later subbed in for McCaskill). Again, you're not seeing Mark Popek or Damian Edwards with the top two lines, with walk-ons ahead of them.
Linebackers? Unchanged. Going strong-middle-weak (or Sam, Mike, Will, as they like to say): First unit, Tyrone McKenzie, Kion Wilson, Brouce Mompremier. Behind them, Alonzo McQueen, Sabbath Joseph and Chris Robinson. Those six will be the guys who play this season, and Leavitt said it's just a matter of figuring out the combinations. Again, there's less of a burden on Wilson because he wouldn't play in nickel packages, which USF will use plenty. Third unit, if you're curious: Houston Hess, Kenneth Luberice and Armando Sanchez. Again, all the freshman linebackers are likely to redshirt, though I seem to see walk-on LaDre Watkins on special teams a surprising amount.
-- USF has its media day this afternoon for both soccer teams and volleyball, so should have updates on those teams. USF's men's soccer team has been picked to win its division in a preseason poll of Big East coaches, though it's a tight race, with seven vote-points separating first and third out of 16 total ballots. USF got seven first-place votes, with Louisville four, St. John's three and DePaul two; the team to beat will be Connecticut, which got 14 of 16 first-place votes in the "Blue" division. USF, by the way, is ranked No. 18 nationally in the preseason NSCAA/adidas poll.
Women's soccer? USF, which went 3-6-2 in league play last season, was picked to finish fifth out of eight teams in the "American" division, notable because only the top five teams in each division make the Big East tournament. More to come ...