USF notes: Sims 'probably' starting; new kicker
Redshirt freshman Mark Popek returned to practice Wednesday after missing two days with the flu, but USF coach Jim Leavitt said junior Jake Sims, second among the returning linemen with 10 career starts, will "probably" get the start at right tackle.
"(Popek) has got to get back rolling. We repped him, but he's just weak right now," Leavitt said. "We'll probably start Sims. We're sure he can go."
-- Former Crystal River kicker Austin Atkins is expected to join the team as a freshman walk-on, perhaps as soon as today, according to Pirates coach George Arscott.
Arscott said Atkins went 8-for-10 on field goals last season at Crystal River and set the school record with a long field goal in a win against Hudson. Arscott said the kick was 56 yards, though online accounts of the game have the kick at 54 yards. Arscott said Atkins was a strong student who is at USF on a Bright Futures academic scholarship. He's expected to compete initially for kickoff duties, which are currently being handled by senior Delbert Alvarado, who also is handling punts, field goals and extra points.
-- USF won't see an offense the rest of this season like Wofford's "Wingbone" triple-option offense, but the Terriers will give a good look at the 3-4 defense (with three down linemen and four linebackers) that they'll face in October against Cincinnati.
"There is that benefit, because we're going to see a lot of 3-4," Leavitt said. "Getting all the reps against it is probably good."
Cincinnati is the only Big East school that lists its primary defense as a 3-4, but Leavitt said more teams are making it part of their defense in anticipation of facing more spread offenses.
"A lot of people are involving a lot of 3-4 because of spread offenses," Leavitt said. "Plus you've got the Steelers winning the Super Bowl and they run a 3-4, so that's what happens."
-- USF senior defensive end George Selvie is one of the 30 candidates for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award, which honors student-athletes for their work in four areas: classroom, community, character and competition. Selvie and Florida quarterback Tim Tebow are the only candidates from Florida schools; West Virginia linebacker Reed Williams is the only other candidate from the Big East.
-- Saturday's game captains will be four seniors -- Selvie, quarterback Matt Grothe, running back Mo Plancher and linebacker Kion Wilson.