Three-way competition at right tackle for USF
We've been writing daily about the different alignments USF is testing on its new offensive line, trying to find the ideal combination to put the best five players on the field.
Tuesday's morning practice showed a new wrinkle -- a three-way battle for the right tackle position, with redshirt freshman Mark Popek, sophomore Danous Estenor and junior Jake Sims all rotating in with the rest of the line unchanged through three sets of drills.
Sims had been penciled in as the starting center -- and still could easily wind up there -- but he's spent the past two days working at right tackle, with Sampson Genus working as the starting center. Junior Zach Hermann seems the most entrenched of the five at right guard, with sophomore Jeremiah Warren working at left guard on Tuesday and junior Jamar Bass working at left tackle.
-- One day after USF coach Jim Leavitt said he didn't like freshman Bradley Battles' move from running back to safety, the freshman was back at his old position, working with the offense at Tuesday's morning practice.
Battles, who worked a single practice at safety, is headed for a redshirt this season, and that has more to do with the experienced players returning at those positions than his talent level.
-- For the second day in a row, defensive end Craig Marshall was working as a first-team defensive tackle, lining up with George Selvie, Terrell McClain and Aaron Harris. The second-team line had Leslie Stirrups working with Cory Grissom at tackle, with Patrick Hampton and David Bedford at end.
-- I'm going back over audio from Matt Grothe as he talked to reporters in Newport last week -- I mailed a digital recorder to our correspondent there and had him mail it back to me after recording there.
We mentioned here that Jim Leavitt was asked if he had to choose between a Big East title or a sweep of Florida State and Miami, and he said it was a "slam dunk" to choose the Big East crown. Grothe was asked the same hypothetical. His answer? "Big East championship," he said. "No-brainer."