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State media days: Leavitt speaks ...



Back home from the state football media days, held in Tampa at the Quorum Hotel on Westshore. USF coach Jim Leavitt was up first this morning, talked for about a half-hour from the podium (I can never bring myself to use the word "dais") and then another half-hour or so with a smaller group out in the hallway. Not much in the way of news (read full transcript here, courtesy of USF's Mike Hogan), but I'll run through a few things ...

-- Leavitt said defensive tackle Terrell McClain is expected to play this fall, battling senior Julian Riley for a backup spot on the interior line. He expects most of the true freshmen to redshirt, but said he'll give a close look to big running back Richard Kelly of South Sumter, as well as Fort Myers' Tyson Butler.

-- Lots of questions about UCF and the end of the series in 2008, but no new answers, just Leavitt saying he doesn't want too many Florida teams on his schedule in any given season.

-- Leavitt, we learned, bought a Wave Runner this summer. Said he's gotten up over 60 mph, looks like a cartoon character with his hair blown back and sunglasses on. I'm glad anytime I hear a story from Leavitt that doesn't directly involve football, so this was a fun highlight to be filed under "Rare Morsels Of Personal Insight." I don't know that I'll see that folder again until January. ...

-- As we reported here Friday, Carlton Hill will be a free safety, where Leavitt hopes his athleticism can help the team. He hasn't hit anyone since high school, but Leavitt wants to give him a look there.

-- Running back Moise Plancher has been cleared this week for full contact in preseason drills, an encouraging step as he returns from knee surgery last year. Leavitt said offensive lineman Matt Huners, recovering from knee surgery this spring, is making as much progress as he could ask, though he won't be involved in any contact in the preseason. Leavitt is very confident Huners will play this year, though he doesn't want to set any kind of timetable for his return.

Other notes: Bethune-Cookman coach Alvin Wyatt said that while they're not in his media guide, he expects former Bulls Antonio and Antwane Cox on his team this fall, as well as defensive end Josh Julmiste. Here's a name I haven't heard in like two years: former Armwood defensive back Mike Williams, who signed with USF in 2004 then left after one redshirt year to a California junior college. Wyatt said Williams will play this fall, though he will not have running back Ricky Ponton.

Not sure what my favorite moment from this morning was: perhaps FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger discussing the one new addition to his coaching staff, a colleague he identified as "Williams," only to be corrected by sports information staffers that his name is actually "Darryl Jackson." A reporter asked Schnellenberger if he had any advice for the next coach scheduled to speak, Jacksonville's Kerwin Bell, a first-year college coach. Perfectly suitable question, and Schnellenberger responded "I might if he asked me," and when the reporter followed by asking "What if asked you?" the 73-year-old turned away and looked for the next question. How hard is it to just pleasantly say "Work hard and surround yourself with smart assistants"? Better still is the media guide from Edward Waters College in Jacksonville, which has no roster. It does have a picture of seven "players to watch" for 2007, though two of the players are identified in the caption as "player no longer with team." I can't make this stuff up. ...

[Last modified: Thursday, May 27, 2010 11:32am]


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