Ten things learned from USF media day ...
I could write a lot more, but I'm limiting myself to 10 things ... for now.
-- Jamar Taylor's knee injury has hit the team hard, especially a close-knit group of running backs. "It hurt me. I actually cried," junior Mike Ford said. "I didn't know what to say to him. Me and him are so close. We're more than close friends. We're like brothers. ... We all have to step up. He's gone, but he's not gone. He's still there, whether he's on the field or not. He can still push me, just by looking at him."
-- We'd told you senior Jerome Murphy was working as the nickel defensive back, but he's back at corner right now, with sophomore Tyson Butler and Jon Lejiste competing for the nickel job. Lejiste and walk-on receiver Bermanley Augustin, both from Delray Beach Atlantic, have known each other since elementary school.
-- Senior walk-on Kenneth Luberice, competing for the starting tight end job and expected to be USF's "up back" on the punt unit, was placed on scholarship this fall. He's the second walk-on to earn a scholarship this fall, joining senior cornerback Cameron Perkins, another special-teams ace.
-- Add senior safety Nate Allen to the list of people already raving about freshman cornerback Kayvon Webster: "He's been coming along real good. He's got a lot of talent. He'll probably help us out early. He's got a lot of great speed, and he's a playmaker. He's been having a great camp so far."
-- I asked George Selvie which of the newcomers on the defensive line has impressed him most. His answer? "Right now, it'd have to be Ju-Ju Forte. He's really working hard. He started out at end, moved to three-technique, has played some nose. He ran some with the 1s." Don't underestimate USF's ends moonlighting as interior linemen: "I got two sacks my freshman year out of three-technique," Selvie said. (Three-technique is the defensive tackle next to the nose tackle.)
-- One player who stood out in Saturday's scrimmage to co-defensive coordinator David Blackwell was defensive end Patrick Hampton. "Hampton had a heck of a scrimmage," he said. "Just playing hard, and every time you look up, he's around the football. I always tell the guys if I'm driving home and I haven't looked at the film, but I can't remember you played, you probably didn't play that good."
-- We haven't written much about USF's new long-snapper, sophomore walk-on Mike Walsh, but he has the confidence of special-teams coach John Hendrick. "Walsh is solid. He just needs to stay healthy, because he's really good," he said. "He does the short ball and the long with precision and accuracy. I love him." Hendrick was pleased Delbert Alvarado hit field goals of 55 and 52 yards in the scrimmage.
-- Receiver Dontavia Bogan is probably a lock to be one of the deep men on kickoff returns. Who does he think will line up deep next to him? "Theo (Wilson) or Murph," said Bogan, who got his forearms autographed by two Bulls cheerleaders.
-- This from Jim Leavitt: "We need to play staggering defense. Last year, I thought we gave up too many deep balls in the secondary, over and over again. I think that really hurt us."
-- Nicknames? Speedy (but short) freshman receiver Derrick Hopkins is "Lil' Flea," though George Selvie calls him Yoda. You probably know Terrell McClain is "Dancing Bear" and Cory Grissom is "Pork Chop." Aaron Harris is "Sleepy" and Damien Edwards is "Big Slop." He explains: "Ryan Schmidt came in one day, and I'd had a pretty terrible practice my first day, and he said 'That's the sloppiest play I've ever seen.' And then Big Slop. He just came out of nowhere with it. Now, it's just kind of accepted." Edwards calls freshman lineman John McGhin "Billy Bob" -- "because I like Varsity Blues."
Sunday is the Bulls' first day off from practice since they opened camp. They're back Monday ...