Others healthy, but tackle Bass turns ankle
TAMPA -- USF coach Skip Holtz made a game-time decision to rest running back Demetris Murray and his ankle injury in Saturday's win against Florida Atlantic, and the extra time off will allow the sophomore to be at full strength when the Bulls face Syracuse this week.
"I feel really good -- 100 percent, ready to go Saturday to get things going," said Murray, who rushed for 115 yards in his last game against Western Kentucky. "(The Big East) is something we've been training and working hard to get up to. It's time to draw a line in the sand and really get after it."
Murray and senior Mo Plancher give the Bulls a 1-2 punch at running back, but offensive coordinator Todd Fitch said having Murray healthy can mean more than rushing yards, with help to USF's passing game as well. When it comes to pass protection, there's a comfort level with Murray and Plancher for Fitch and for quarterback B.J. Daniels.
"There's a sense of security with those guys, because they know their assignments, picking up the blitzes," said Fitch, who expects an aggressive defensive package from the Orange. "It's a little more of a trust factor in those situations, because the back has to do so much thinking and be in sync with the line in the blitz schemes."
Wednesday's practice brought another injury, as senior Jamar Bass, who would be USF's starting left tackle, turned his ankle during a 1-on-1 drill. USF coach Skip Holtz didn't know the severity of the injury, but said sophomore Mark Popek stepped in to work with the first-team line. Popek started ahead of Bass against FAU, but had two costly penalties that negated a touchdown.
There has been good news on the injury front, with Murray and receivers Dontavia Bogan and Sterling Griffin expected to play, but Holtz said he doesn't expect much from starting safety Jerrell Young, who injured his ankle in Saturday's win and hasn't practiced yet this week.
"I'm not looking to push him out here on a Wednesday," Holtz said. "I would like to get him to the point if we could get him for any plays at all, I think it'd be a bonus. ... It's an ankle. I've seen some that come back in a week. I've seen some that take three. You just don't know until he goes through the treatment and you find out how he responds to it."