Notes: Ankle sprain ends spring for WR Hester
Senior wide receiver Jessie Hester will miss the rest of spring practice after spraining his ankle during Saturday's scrimmage, coach Jim Leavitt said after Tuesday's practice.
"We know Jessie can play," Leavitt said. "I'm not as concerned about that. I want him to get healthy."
Hester is the second projected starting receiver out this spring, as junior A.J. Love is recovering from a torn ACL he suffered in USF's win in the St. Petersburg Bowl in December. Leavitt said the injury isn't serious and shouldn't keep him from summer workouts or from a complete recovery for two-a-days.
-- Position change! With redshirt freshmen Jeff Hawkins (shoulder) and Andreas Shields (ankle) limited by injuries, the Bulls have moved walk-on senior linebacker Kenneth Luberice to tight end, trading his white No. 54 for a green No. 34. Luberice, who played some tight end in high school at Boca Raton Spanish River, has worked as the primary "up back" on USF's punt team, barking out protection coverage before the ball is snapped.
"I just want to hit somebody," said Luberice, 6 feet and 225 pounds. Luberice will graduate this fall with a degree in biomedical sciences, with minors in public health and biomedical physics. He's headed to medical school next spring ...
-- Story of the spring remains redshirt freshman QB/WR/holder Evan Landi. One staple of spring practice is "board drills," where one player from the offense and defense line up facing each other and just collide straight at each other, trying to push each other back. QBs rarely take part in the drills, but Landi's done it at least twice -- today, Leavitt put him up against sophomore safety Charlton Sinclair, and Landi drove him straight back and onto his back. I'm not exaggerating when I say that Leavitt has mentioned him every day at practice ... Leavitt closed the drills by announcing that QBs Matt Grothe and B.J. Daniels would go head-to-head. A big crowd gathered around as the two passers strapped on their helmets, but Leavitt laughed and blew his whistle, moving on to the rest of practice ...
-- We've told you how sophomore walk-on Mike Walsh is the only long-snapper on roster, and sophomore offensive lineman Mike McGowan stayed late to work on his snapping ... Remember how Leavitt said last week that as many as 18 newcomers could play this fall? On Tuesday, he put the count at 20. Again, we'll let you know if that number gets to higher than 10 this fall ... Redshirt freshman guard Josh Garvin has missed most of spring drills with what coaches thought was mononucleosis. Turns out it's just a bad flu bug, but he's missed enough practice and classes that he's behind in both and likely won't see much action as he gets caught up. "He won't be in shape. He's going to be very weak," Leavitt said.
-- More than halfway through spring drills the first-team defense remains unchanged. Defensive end Craig Marshall and cornerback Quenton Washington missed the start of Tuesday's drills due to classes, so junior David Bedford and sophomore Tyson Butler filled in on the first-team defense.
-- New nickname alert: Redshirt freshman d-tackle Cory Grissom is "Pork Chop." Leavitt gets so used to nicknames he forgets players' actual names -- did the same thing last year with Terrell "Dancing Bear" McClain. "Pork Chop works really hard," Leavitt said, running through players who have impressed him.
-- Another strength-coach update: New part-time coach Jon Holt was on the field for a little bit of Bulls history. The former Clearwater and N.C. State offensive tackle played five snaps in the Wolfpack's shutout of USF in the 2005 Meineke Car Care Bowl in Charlotte. He's now working under Ronnie McKeefery, especially with USF's offensive linemen.
-- Cryptic quote for all you Robert Marve fans. Leavitt, talking about his QB depth, called Daniels "a magician," then had this to say: "We're thin at quarterback, obviously. We've got Matt, a senior, you've got B.J. ... Evan's working at receiver a little bit, and we've got to keep Evan at quarterback. We're not deep enough at quarterback, depending on what we have coming in ... we've got to build that. That will be one of our biggest needs in recruiting, finding a quarterback."