There's a new quarterback in town ...
No, no, not that guy. I'm talking about Tyler Stowell, the freshman walk-on from St. Petersburg's Northside Christian Academy, who made a very brief debut for a minute or two wearing a No. 14 jersey Thursday morning. Long before practice even started, Stowell -- with light blond hair that could have him pass for a skinny Houston Hess -- was sent back to the locker room, where he returned in streetclothes, watching the quarterbacks the rest of the way.
Stowell, you see, is a "first day of school guy," meaning that rosters are capped at 105 players until the first day of school, and then USF coach Jim Leavitt typically brings out five more walk-ons. I'm pretty sure that former Jefferson defensive tackle Anthony Jones is a FDOSG, and the 6-foot-7 offensive lineman, Sean Hirlinger, has been watching in shorts and a T-shirt, so I suspect he's a FDOSG too. (I'm hoping FDOSG really takes off, like "grayshirt" and "phat" and other words the cool kids are saying).
Not too much in the way of revelations Thursday morning, though I'm amused to report some aftermath to Wednesday's note in which defensive backs coach Troy Douglas was painfully honest about walk-on safety Mistral Raymond's chances of getting onto the field on defense this fall. When the team went through board drills -- which have one offensive and one defensive player go straight at each other and grapple in a test of physical strength -- Raymond held his own against another walk-on, receiver Rhett Hamrick. Douglas, giving him a little more grief, called him by what is apparently his new nickname ... Sweetbay. I think it could stick.
What else? Players let off a little steam with a little tussle during board drills, physical enough that running back Jamar Taylor got his helmet flung off ... I can report that sophomore walk-on Ilia Petrov, who briefly held punting duties as a true freshman in 2006, is now the No. 2 punter behind Delbert Alvarado, which suggests that freshman Justin Brockhaus-Kann is all the more likely to redshirt this fall. Petrov, you'll remember, had a solid leg but struggled holding onto snaps and lost his job after a costly turnover early in the '06 season.
The same folks were lined up on returns Thursday morning: Marcus Edwards, Nate Allen, Theo Wilson, Daniel Bryant and Patrick Richardson on punts, and Jerome Murphy, Tyson Butler, Dontavia Bogan and Jerrell Young on kickoffs.
The new Under Armour apparel has Jim Leavitt wearing black shorts, black socks and black shoes at practice. Leavitt wore a T-shirt Thursday that read "SOLDIER" on the back with "SOUTH FLORIDA STRENGTH" on the front, part of the "Summer Soldiers" weight-room deal that has resulted in significant gains for several players.
-- Does USF have a strong nonconference schedule? Sportsline.com seems to think so -- they're handing out grades for difficulty of non-league games to the top 25 teams, and USF lands a B-minus. Only USC (B) and Fresno State (A) get higher grades, with West Virginia also getting a B-minus. That's certainly a new spin, giving credit for a road game to Florida International. ...
-- Another national honor for USF defensive end George Selvie, who is one of 45 nominees in Division I-A football for the Allstate AFCA Good Works team, which honors student-athletes for commitment to the community with off-field contributions. He's eligible now to be selected to an 11-player Good Works team that will be announced later this season. Florida State's Everette Brown was the only other state player nominated; Rutgers' Tiquan Underwood, Pittsburgh's Scott McKillop, West Virginia's Tito Gonzales, Connecticut's Brad Kanuch and Syracuse's Lavar Lobdell are the other Big East nominees.
-- A less distinguished honor for Leavitt, who makes an appearance at The College Football Guys blog, which in reverence to the movie "Pineapple Express" coming out this week, lists the coaches who "might be coaching under the influence." Leavitt is one of nine coaches that make the list, which calls him the "closest college football has to its own Spicoli." (Any attorneys seeking cease-and-desist type fun, I'm at firstname.lastname@example.org, checking my inbox constantly)
Yes, there are photos of Ralph Friedgen and Mark Mangino, and yes, the word "munchies" is used. I keep thinking that people seeking Pineapple's official site, ridetheexpress.com, will get confused and go to the site for the new biopic of Syracuse running back Ernie Davis, The Express, which is at theexpressmovie.com. That movie -- which has Rob Brown from "Finding Forrester" and looks promising -- comes out two weeks before Syracuse comes to Tampa. The Orange have even carried the train theme over to this year's media guide ...