Monday, December 11, 2017
Colleges

Football injuries force USF Bulls to embrace youth

TAMPA

A month ago, when USF football played at Temple, the Bulls had 12 seniors in their starting lineup. On Saturday, when the Bulls ended a six-game losing streak with a win against Connecticut, the Bulls started just five seniors. The season-ending ankle injury suffered by QB B.J. Daniels lowers that number by another senior.

Skip Holtz's youth movement has had more to do with injuries to key Bulls veterans, but it gives USF a head start on next season, lessening the hit it will take from losing a deep senior class. At many positions, young players — even true freshmen — have played without a significant dropoff.

When freshman DE Eric Lee became a starter two games ago, he had one career tackle. He had six in his first start then added his first sack Saturday. When freshman Tashon Whitehurst stepped in at weakside linebacker Saturday, he had one career tackle, he but totaled eight in Saturday's win, including a key fourth-quarter fumble recovery. Sophomore Reshard Cliett has 17 tackles in the past two games since he became a starting linebacker.

The same can be said on offense, where redshirt freshmen Thor Jozwiak and Brynjar Gudmundsson have stepped in as starting guards and true freshman Sean Price has become a top target at tight end, with nine catches for 114 yards and a touchdown in the past three games. Junior Marcus Shaw has stepped in for Lindsey Lamar at running back, and expect freshman WR D'Vario Montgomery to play a larger role in the final three games.

There are still glaring holes to be filled for 2013. Redshirt freshman Matt Floyd will likely get an early crack at taking over for Daniels, and the Bulls will have to replace two senior cornerbacks in Kayvon Webster and George Baker, with few experienced corners behind them. The kicking game will have major turnover, with a reliable pair in K Maikon Bonani and P Justin Brockhaus-Kann both seniors.

The biggest challenge is for USF to salvage more wins from its final three games, but in shifting to a younger lineup, the Bulls are picking up experience that will be invaluable next fall.

MORE YOUTH: USF men's basketball team scored eight points in the first eight minutes of Monday's exhibition win against Division II Eckerd, making it all the more impressive when freshman G JaVontae Hawkins later fired off a personal 8-0 run in a span of 74 seconds, taking USF from a 24-22 lead to a 32-22 cushion just before halftime.

Hawkins, a 6-foot-5 freshman from Flint, Mich., hit a 3-pointer, then a 2, then a three-point play on consecutive possessions. He not only finished with 13 points, he did it on 5-for-6 shooting in 17 minutes.

"He's got that quick first step, has a nice shot when he gets his feet set. He's going to be a nice weapon to bring into the game, like (senior Jawanza) Poland does," coach Stan Heath said. "Bringing those two guys in the game, I don't think we miss a beat, and sometimes we might get better. Both those guys are very electric players."

USF has a versatile newcomer in G Martino Brock, who had nine assists, six points and six rebounds in 28 minutes against Eckerd. Brock showed his speed in transition, and while he'll start at shooting guard, he'll also be the primary backup to Anthony Collins at point guard.

Comments
FSU beats Tulane in Tampa, stays unbeaten in basketball

FSU beats Tulane in Tampa, stays unbeaten in basketball

Published: 12/10/17
Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield wins Heisman Trophy

Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield wins Heisman Trophy

NEW YORK — Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy on Saturday night, completing a climb from walk-on to one of the most accomplished players in the history of college football. Mayfield won a lopsided vote to become the sixth Okla...
Published: 12/09/17
Could Jim Harbaugh soon be known as Willie Taggart’s buddy?

Could Jim Harbaugh soon be known as Willie Taggart’s buddy?

TAMPA — His team was in Ann Arbor, practicing. He was signing footballs in Tampa.Yet another Jim Harbaugh fun fact."I can’t be in two places at once," Harbaugh said.Not that Harbaugh wouldn’t try it if he could. College football’s firestarter, its bi...
Published: 12/08/17

Gasparilla Bowl journal: Temple’s Collins speaks highly of former boss, new Gator Mullen

ST. PETE BEACH — If anyone has an accurate read on how new coach Dan Mullen will fare at Florida, it’s Temple’s Geoff Collins.Collins worked under Mullen as a Mississippi State assistant from 2011-14. He jumped from there to Gainesville, where he spe...
Published: 12/07/17
No. 5 Florida Gators lose stunner at home to Loyola-Chicago

No. 5 Florida Gators lose stunner at home to Loyola-Chicago

GAINESVILLE — Aundre Jackson scored 23, Cameron Krutwig added 14 and Loyola-Chicago stunned No. 5 Florida 63-59 Wednesday, handing the Gators a third consecutive loss. Less than 48 hours after Florida coach Mike White said his team’s performance agai...
Published: 12/06/17
Twitter propels man toward dream of becoming bloomin' onion at Outback Bowl

Twitter propels man toward dream of becoming bloomin' onion at Outback Bowl

No matter what happens on the field at the Outback Bowl in Tampa, the star of the show will be the bloomin’ onion. Not the deliciously crispy, glistening, 1,900-plus-calorie appetizer served at Outback restaurants, but the person who parades t...
Published: 12/06/17
Indiana hoops transplant perfectly at home in Tampa

Indiana hoops transplant perfectly at home in Tampa

TAMPA — Back home in Indiana, he was basketball royalty. He played in his first league at age 2. He lived — and loved — the hardwood life. He was accustomed to performing before more than 10,000 fans for his big games.Pat Bacon capped his storied pre...
Published: 12/06/17
Offensive guru Heupel is named UCF coach

Offensive guru Heupel is named UCF coach

UCF hired Missouri offensive coordinator Josh Heupel as football coach.Heupel quickly hired former UF interim coach Randy Shannon as defensive coordinator.Heupel, 39, was a consensus All-American quarterback who led Oklahoma to the 2000 national titl...
Published: 12/05/17
At Hall of Fame induction, Steve Spurrier and Peyton Manning share respect

At Hall of Fame induction, Steve Spurrier and Peyton Manning share respect

NEW YORK — After the class picture of the latest Hall of Fame inductees was taken, Peyton Manning made his way over to Steve Spurrier for another handshake and some chit-chat before heading off in opposite directions to do media interviews. The forme...
Published: 12/05/17
FSU upsets No. 5 Florida, its fourth straight win over Gators

FSU upsets No. 5 Florida, its fourth straight win over Gators

GAINESVILLE — Terance Mann scored 25, CJ Walker added 17 and Florida State upset No. 5 Florida 83-66 on Monday night to remain undefeated. The Seminoles (7-0) also extended their winning streak against the Gators (5-2) to four, their longest in the 6...
Published: 12/04/17