What if: Leavitt once hoped to play at FSU
Can you imagine Jim Leavitt as a former FSU football player?
The Bulls coach said he had once hoped to play for the Seminoles when he was a quarterback at Dixie Hollins High in St. Petersburg, trying to get a scholarship from any school he could find.
"I was a quarterback who was recruited by everybody, and then I threw six interceptions against Sarasota Riverview, and I got a lot of letters saying 'Good luck,'" Leavitt joked Tuesday. "I remember driving up to Florida State with all of my articles and everything. Dave Porter, who played at Gibbs High School, was on scholarship there, and nobody was calling me, nobody wanted me.
"I sat outside the office for, oh, about six, seven hours, and finally a graduate assistant came out and said 'Listen, we're very interested in you. If you come back next year, we may talk to you.' I said, 'Thank you, sir. I really appreciate your time.' I drove back, and that was it. I wasn't really some guy they all were looking at."
Porter, who was a senior defensive end on Bobby Bowden's first FSU team in 1976, played Little League baseball with Leavitt's brother, Rusty, and ran into the coach at a high school reunion last year.
"Jimmy reminds me a lot of Bowden back then. He had a lot of fire in his tail, very aggressive, a gambler like that," said Porter, 54, an FSU season-ticket holder who still lives in Tallahassee and will be at Saturday's game.
Leavitt said he drove back up to Tallahassee in the off-season while he and Bob Stoops were co-defensive coordinators at Kansas State to talk defensive strategy with longtime defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews and then-FSU linebackers coach Wally Burnham, who would later become Leavitt's coordinator at USF.
"I know Mickey very well. A tremendous icon of defensive football," Leavitt said this week.
TWO KICKERS?: With walk-on kicker Eric Schwartz unproven on long field goals -- he connected on his first and only attempt from 37 yards on Saturday -- Leavitt said he might consider using senior Delbert Alvarado if he needed an especially long field goal. Alvarado holds the Big East record with a 56-yard kick against Syracuse in 2006.
"(Alvarado) has done it before. If we were in a game and had to kick one from maybe 60, that'd be something I'd have to really consider," Leavitt said. "I know he can do it. Schwartz has a strong leg too now. It just depends on what the situation is."
NOTES: USF started practice an hour early, starting at 3 p.m. Wednesday and going two hours and forty minutes, trying to prepare players for the heat of a noon kickoff Saturday in Tallahassee. The Bulls' first three games had evening kickoffs. ... The Bulls will save about $75,000 by taking four buses to Tallahassee on Friday instead of a charter flight. USF also took buses to road games at Miami and Central Florida in recent years.