TAMPA — A good sign that Matt Grothe's knee is getting healthy again came Saturday, when he golfed for the first time since the injury that cut short his senior season after three games.
Grothe likes to golf and likes that life is getting back to normal after five months without football, busy with rehabilitation and hoping to show pro scouts what he can do this spring. He wasn't among the six Bulls participating in the NFL combine last week in Indianapolis, but he has been hard at work trying to set up a future in pro football.
As much as anyone involved, Grothe benefits from USF's decision to bump its pro day workout from Friday to March 30, giving the quarterback more time to gain confidence in his health.
"It gives me over three weeks to prepare that much more. It's definitely a good thing. I'll be over in Orlando for a couple more weeks now, with more time to get back to 100 percent," Grothe said Saturday night. "My leg has shown a big improvement over the past month. This past week, I did everything, lateral-wise. I'm running full speed, with some pretty good times on the shorter shuttles."
Grothe is hopeful of getting a shot in the NFL and has a workout scheduled for March 20 with the Canadian Football League's Hamilton Tiger-Cats, where former USF WR Amarri Jackson recently signed.
And he's not done golfing. He'll take part in actor Bill Murray's Caddy Shack Celebrity Golf Tournament on March 25-26 in Jacksonville. "I don't really know how it happened, but my agent did it," Grothe said. "He said, 'Do you want to golf with him?' I said, 'Sure.' "
Groundbreaking: USF president Judy Genshaft and athletic director Doug Woolard will attend today's ceremonial groundbreaking of the Pam and Les Muma Basketball Center, the basketball practice facility at the south end of the Sun Dome, which should be ready this year.
Meet the coach: Football coach Skip Holtz will take questions from fans at "The Inside Skip," a town hall meeting from 6:30 to 8 tonight at the Corral inside the Sun Dome. Holtz will do a town hall at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Venue in Clearwater.
Streak alive: USF has become a staple of the Women's NIT, with five appearances in the past six years, and with the tournament expanding from 48 to 64 teams, the Bulls (15-14) are a safe bet to return. Coach Jose Fernandez has played shorthanded all season, with key players lost to injuries and suspensions.
"We've gotten in with a lower RPI before. We're the defending champs. It'd be tough to keep us out even if we were to (lose Friday)," said Fernandez, whose team plays Cincinnati on Friday in the first round of the Big East tournament. "I'm not going to politick for a WNIT bid. I want it for the kids, to keep the streak going, too, to get those four freshmen more experience."
This and that: Fernandez has an ambitious nonconference schedule next season, with Auburn and Wake Forest coming to the Sun Dome, as well as Middle Tennessee State. The Bulls will play a tournament in Las Vegas, with Nebraska or Texas among the teams they'll face. … USF senior C Jessica Lawson, who led the Big East in double doubles this season, will go to the Final Four as part of the "So You Want to Be a Coach" program, which has a three-day workshop in San Antonio, Texas. She's the only Big East player among 78 student-athletes in the program.
Greg Auman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and (813) 226-3346. Check out his blog at blogs.tampabay.com/usf and follow him at Twitter.com/gregauman.