USF seniors making most of final games
Sorry not to post last night -- here are Tuesday's practice notes from Times correspondent Kerry Klecic:
TAMPA -- For USF senior linebacker Sabbath Joseph, it seems as if his career has flown by.
“It’s gone real fast,” he said Tuesday.
Joseph, tied for a team-high 46 appearances in a USF uniform, knows all too well about the Bulls’ fast starts in previous seasons – including the rise to a No. 2 ranking in 2007 – and eventual fall into midseason conference swoons. Big games? Joseph has played in them. Big program moments? Joseph has lived them.
But now with just three games left in his career, Joseph and the rest of the seniors face a different, unfamiliar situation: at home in mid-November knowing a win against Pittsburgh on Saturday will put them into a first-place tie in the Big East standings.
“It means a great to deal to me and the seniors,” he said Tuesday. “At night, I just go to bed thinking of that game-winning play. I just can’t stop thinking about it. Everybody’s calling me. There’s a big excitement about it. It’s scary because these are my last three games as a South Florida Bull, but I’m living the life right now.”
Even with a win, the Bulls (3-2 in the conference) don’t control their own destiny, with Syracuse (4-2) and West Virginia (2-2) holding the head-to-head tiebreaker. Coach Skip Holtz said Tuesday that the situation is a unique one for the team.
“As many things as they have accomplished, this late in the season they haven’t been in the midst of the league championship talk,” he said. “There hasn’t been the ‘if this, then this’ kind of talk. I think for them it’s uncharted waters. It’s exciting. I think it’s fun.”
DE Marshall planning on Miami: USF senior defensive end and sack leader Craig Marshall, sidelined by a broken bone in his foot suffered Oct. 22 against Cincinnati, said Tuesday that he plans to be back for next week’s game at Miami. Marshall said he’s already done some running, and the foot is feeling better. Redshirt freshman safety JaQuez Jenkins (ankle) and senior offensive tackle Jamar Bass (knee) sat out of practice Tuesday.
Sack attack: If dealing with one defensive lineman who has a knack for getting sacks is hard enough, the Bulls will face the Big East’s pair of leaders in Pittsburgh defensive ends Brandon Lindsey and Jabaal Sheard. Each has nine, good for ninth nationally, giving the Panthers much-needed production with the news this week that Panthers defensive end Greg Romeus, the 2009 Big East co-defensive player of the year, will miss the remainder of the season with a torn ACL.
“Their front four is very strong,” offensive coordinator Todd Fitch said. “Their ends provide great pressure … so it will be a challenge for us to make sure we can contain those guys and hold up on them.”