Tresey pleased with senior leaders on defense
Defensive coordinator Joe Tresey is still getting a feel for his new defense at USF, but the first half of spring practice has given him confidence in the leadership he has from seniors like defensive end George Selvie, linebacker Kion Wilson, safety Nate Allen and cornerback Jerome Murphy.
"Those kids have been consistent, the guys that we expected to be steady," Tresey said. "George, Kion has really stood out to me, his demeanor, his attitude -- Jerome Murphy, Nate Allen. (Starting strongside linebacker) Chris Robinson has come around, is getting a little better each day. He's been a bit of a surprise."
As Tresey implements a new defense with all-new terminology, he's been pleased with the focus from players and coaches in the past two weeks.
"They've been very engaged in learning. I'm really happy with the staff, with the whole group," Tresey said. "The whole group is trying to absorb as much as they can absorb. It doesn't matter if there's a change, as long as they buy in."
Junior Sabbath Joseph has entrenched himself as the starting weakside linebacker -- at least until fall drills -- and stays on the field with Wilson in USF's nickel package, with redshirt freshman Jon Lejiste replacing Robinson.
-- Linebacker Donte Spires, back on the team as a walk-on after leaving the team for a year, missed Wednesday's practice to tend to classwork -- Tresey said he had a paper due this weekend in a key class. With Spires out and the Bulls having only five scholarship linebackers this spring, USF had sophomore walk-on Rony DeLisca -- previously a defensive end -- working as a second-team outside linebacker, alongside redshirt freshmen Armando Sanchez and Mike Lanaris. Spires should be back for Saturday's scrimmage. "Our depth is tough right now," Tresey said.
-- Receiver Jessie Hester, sidelined for the rest of spring, was said to have just a sprained ankle by coach Jim Leavitt, but he had a full cast on his left foot as he walked on crutches at Wednesday's practice. The cast would point to a more significant injury than a simple sprain, but Hester insisted "they just want to take the right precautions." Hester said he'll wear the cast for the "next week or so" until trainers know the full severity of the injury.
-- Walk-on Dexter Baldwin, part of the coverage units on special teams and a second-team defensive back this spring, was also on crutches Wednesday with what appeared to be an injury to his right leg. Speaking of special teams, QB/WR Evan Landi was working on the kickoff return team as a blocker on the front line Wednesday, along with fellow first-year players Lejiste and Sanchez. Tight end Kenneth Luberice has taken Ben Williams' position in the middle of the field on kickoff returns, and redshirt freshman corner George Baker got a look on kickoff returns Wednesday as well.
-- With injuries to A.J. Love and Hester, the four receivers working with the first unit Wednesday were Carlton Mitchell, Dontavia Bogan, Ed Alcin and Patrick Richardson; the second four was Daniel Bryant, Colby Erskin, Theo WIlson and Aston Samuels. With guard Zach Hermann sidelined with a concussion, the starting offensive line Wednesday was (left to right) Jake Sims, Chaz Hine, Sampson Genus, Mike McGowan and Mark Popek.
-- Tresey's old defense at Cincinnati lost 10 starters to graduation, but still interesting to read that Brian Kelly is giving receiver Marcus Barnett -- who had 13 touchdown receptions two years ago -- a look at cornerback. Barnett had just one touchdown last season, stuck behind Mardy Gilyard and Dominick Goodman, but the Cincinnati Enquirer's Bill Koch quotes Barnett as being told by an assistant coach that "we ain't looking too great at corner right now."
-- Here's the writeup on last night's USF women's basketball game from the Boston Globe.