Notes: WR Bryant getting look at cornerback
Spring football is always a time to experiment with players at different positions, and USF's latest example is redshirt freshman receiver Daniel Bryant, who got a look Wednesday at cornerback, coach Jim Leavitt said.
Bryant, 6-foot-2 and 185 pounds, would bring the same combination of size and speed on the defensive side, where USF has considerably less overall depth than on offense. The move is hardly a permanent one, though Leavitt said Bryant showed enough promise he's likely to spend more time working with the cornerbacks.
The Bulls have just four scholarship cornerbacks this spring -- starters Jerome Murphy and Quenton Washington and backups Tyson Butler and George Baker. Two signees -- Kayvon Webster and Ricardo Dixon -- are expected to join the Bulls at cornerback this fall. USF has 11 scholarship receivers this spring, though starters A.J. Love and Jessie Hester are sidelined with injuries the rest of spring drills.
-- Leavitt has cancelled a scrimmage scheduled for Saturday afternoon, citing the recent flurry of injuries that have made an already thin roster even thinner. The Bulls will still practice Friday afternoon, but only for about 75 minutes, and will make up for the scrimmage with a second practice after the spring game on April 11.
-- Men's basketball coach Stan Heath was able to keep the same three assistant coaches from his first season to his second, but will that be the case again this offseason? Ever since VCU coach Anthony Grant was named head coach at Alabama, I've heard speculation that USF assistant head coach Dan Hipsher was a possibility to join him on his new staff.
Hipsher has a long history with Grant -- he was an assistant at Dayton when Grant played there, and gave Grant his first college coaching job when he was head coach at Stetson. As Hipsher works toward becoming a head coach again, the question is whether a move to Alabama -- a more established program in a lesser conference -- would help him toward that goal, or whether he'd be content to stay with the Bulls until the right head coaching job comes open. Today's Birmingham News floats Hipsher's name as a possibility, along with his former assistants at VCU, but again, at this point, it's still just speculation.
"Of course my name is going to come up, because I gave him his first job," Hipsher said Friday morning. "I'm excited for Anthony and happy for him, but there are a lot of things that go into staffing. I work for a great guy here and this is a great program. I'm focused on winning here."
Hipsher has another former assistant joining the head coaching ranks -- former Florida assistant Shaka Smart, named to succeed Grant at VCU, got his first job as a full-time assistant when Hipsher was head coach at Akron.
And if new Kentucky coach John Calipari, a Wildcats outsider, wanted an assistant who would give him ties to Kentucky's tradition, you wonder if he might reach out to USF's Reggie Hanson, a Kentucky native who played at UK and spent seven years as a Kentucky assistant before coming to USF two years ago.
-- And yes, you know Saturday's USF-Kansas basketball game in the Women's NIT championship is a big game, if only because the respective mayors are making silly wagers. Tampa's Pam Iorio and Lawrence's Mike Dever have agreed the losing mayor will wear the other team's school colors for a day. More on the game from the Lawrence Journal-World.
-- Rivals.com's Olin Buchanon, answering questions in a mailbag feature, writes that it wouldn't be a surprise if USF won in Tallahassee this fall, setting up the possibility of another strong start to put USF in the national polls in early October, as in the past two years.
-- ESPN.com blogger Brian Bennett writes about receiver Dontavia Bogan, poised for a big year after making a mark on kickoff returns and with 26 catches as as sophomore ...
-- USF has opened its annual coaches clinic to the general public, so I've paid up and will be attending the clinic much of the day today at the Sun Dome, listening to many USF assistants who are delivering seminars, as well as Leavitt, former Bucs and Colts coach Tony Dungy and former Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville. Check back for notes from there and from Friday afternoon's practice, weather permitting ...