Transcript: USF's Leavitt talks on ESPNU
ESPNU's "Coaches Spotlight" show had the ambitious goal this week of interviewing all 120 Division I-A coaches during two six-hour shows, and USF coach Jim Leavitt was part of the parade, doing a four-minute phone interview with ESPNU on Tuesday afternoon. Here's a transcript:
ESPN: Coach, when you talk about George Selvie, we know he was a little banged up last season, but as far as what he does on the field, what can he do to get back at least in the ballpark of those numbers from '07?
Leavitt: Stay healthy, that's the biggest thing. He had a high ankle sprain last year, and really after his second game, he probably shouldn't have played. We probably should have kept him out and seen if we could have healed that thing. It's hard to keep George out of the lineup. That's the biggest thing.
ESPN: In the offseason, you have said you're trying to figure out what happens to this team, especially over the past couple of seasons in the month of October. What have you figured out about the struggles in that month?
Leavitt: There was no question in my mind, it wasn't trying to figure out what happened. We're just not as deep in the recruiting part of it all yet. We're still a program that's still trying to gain more and more depth. We had a number of players, had a lot of injuries the last few years. When those guys got healthy and came back, we won two years ago three of the last four and last year two of the last three. We've finished up fairly strong. In the middle of the season, we've got some guys banged up and other guys that had to play that just weren't ready. We've got to continue to recruit, continue to build depth and just keep not catastrophizing anything. Let's get out there and play. We have gone to four bowl games, so that's not awful. We have been a pretty competitive team.
ESPN: Especially when you consider how young this program still is on the overall scale. Talk about some of the dynamic players in this conference. Pat White, former West Virginia quarterback, gets so much credit, but with a pretty good opener, Matt Grothe will break his record for conference (total offense) yards in a career. What should we be saying about your senior quarterback as being one of the better players in the history of the Big East conference, perhaps?
Leavitt: I think he's one of the better players that's come through the history of college football. How many people have already gone over 10,000 yards running and throwing and those things? Not a ton of them. He's just a really great young man. Very competitive, having a real good football mind. Can run and throw it, as we all know, and has led this team to bowl games every year. When you think about the history of South Florida in I-A football, half of our history we've been to bowl games. That's a pretty good accomplishment for a starting quarterback.
ESPN: Coach, you're one of our favorites by far on ESPNU (Leavitt laughing) because of the energy you bring. It doesn't matter what we're talking about. So I've got to ask you to please explain the average Red Bull consumption for you in a typical day.
Leavitt: (Laughing) I'm high on life. I don't think I need to say it any other way. You think about it. I grew up here in St. Petersburg, Florida, about 30, 40 minutes from this campus. My mom and dad live here. I've got my brother lives right close here, and my sister. I get to be the head football coach of a great university in a great place, and I have tremendous young people. How do you not get excited about that every day? I mean, honestly. I'm very fortunate. It's been an awful lot of fun.
ESPN: You need to bottle that energy. The Leavitt Energy Drink. It's going to be a big seller, I can tell you right now. Coach, thank you so much for your help.