Wrapping up late-summer notes ...
Lots of little stuff to catch up on. I'll have more leftovers from Newport later in the week ...
-- We had it first in Wednesday's paper that USF will open its 2009 season against I-AA Wofford, and don't be surprised if the Bulls fill the same I-AA home-game slot with Florida A&M in 2008 and 2011, making that well-attended game a regular event in Tampa. The Bulls still need a I-AA home game and a road game to open a new home-and-home to complete their 2007 schedule -- seems likely that USF-UCF will be renewed for two more years (2007-08) to accommodate the exit agreement USF signed in leaving Conference USA. That would leave one more required game with C-USA, and I'd put my money on a 2009-2010 home-and-home with one of the Texas schools in the conference.
-- Former South Carolina defensive back Rashad Faison has joined USF's strength and conditioning staff as an intern. Faison, who's from Wauchula, played under Wally Burnham at South Carolina and talked to USF about their defensive grad assistant job a year ago before the Bulls chose former Buc Steve White.
-- Preferred walk-on J.B. Bailey, the former Leto quarterback who will be a defensive back for the Bulls this fall, got good news this week -- he's been accepted into the university, pending completion of some summer work at Itawamba Junior College in Mississippi. He's as intriguing as any of the new walk-ons -- the kind folks at Tennessee Tech sent me a pic from one of his five starts as a freshman QB there in 2003.
The caption info I got said he was leaping over a would-be tackler; that might be true, but it seems to be a would-be tackler on his own team. Anyway, just another name to keep an eye on this fall.
-- From the Where Are They Now Department: the Lakeland Ledger has an update on erstwhile Bulls receiver Willie Williams, last seen playing basketball at Division II Shaw University in North Carolina. He was to play in Tracy McGrady's all-star celebrity basketball game in Auburndale ...
-- USF women's basketball got good news as senior guard Tristen Webb, who has missed the last two seasons with knee injuries, was granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA. If healthy, Webb could allow the Bulls to shift talented sophomore Shantia Grace to shooting guard, where she could focus more on being a solid second scoring option to go with senior Jessica Dickson. I finally tracked down USF's second oral commitment for 2007, Columbus (Ga.) guard Sequoyah Griffin, a 5-9 shooter who is the Bulls' second pledge, joining Academy of Holy Names guard Gianna Messina.
-- Volleyball coach Claire Lessinger looked to have finally gotten some depth for the upcoming season, but that takes a hit with Wednesday's news that junior Michelle Stalbaum is gone due to bad grades, and redshirt freshman Stephanie Bradley won't play again due to a career-ending injury. That's five players from last year's team that left the program before their eligibility was up -- the biggest loss is freshman setter Kate Verhoff, who has transferred to Kent State to play basketball. Lessinger does have five new players -- watch for outside hitters Marcela Gurgel and Jarka Havlickova, who have larger roles with Stalbaum out of the mix.
-- Odd slew of athletic-department people leaving USF this week -- biggest name is Jo-Ann Nester, the associate AD for academics for the past year, who took a job at Florida Gulf Coast University, apparently to be closer to family there. That means USF will have three top academic administrators in three years -- with football and men's basketball posting less-than-ideal scores in the NCAA's APR reports, it's an obviously important position. That said, USF's problems with APR have been primarily about retention, not about academic struggles.