Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Leavitt believes he made the right decisions in USF's loss to Louisville

Here's the situation: You're trailing late in the first half, you're inside your opponent's 10-yard line with six seconds on the clock. Do you take one quick shot at the end zone or play it safe and go for the field goal?

On Saturday, USF coach Jim Leavitt initially sent his offense out, then used all three timeouts — Louisville also used two — before deciding to send Maikon Bonani out for the kick from the Louisville 8. To oversimplify things in hindsight, he settled for three points and his Bulls wound up losing by four.

"Six seconds, I really wanted to go for the touchdown," Leavitt said Sunday. "I didn't let my emotions go (take over) and did the right thing. You'd need at least eight seconds (to feel safe)."

The field goal got USF within eight points, and the Bulls led in the fourth quarter. A day later, the NFL offered a similar posit, with the Cowboys at the Bucs 3 with six seconds left in the half. They went for it, got a quick touchdown to Roy Williams and ended up winning by four.

"Did they throw a fade?" Leavitt asked. "That's what we were talking about. The problem is, if that ball's not in and out of the quarterback's hands, if we didn't get it, I would have been second-guessed from here to tomorrow. I wanted points. I didn't want to do all that work and come away with no points. It was tempting. Very tempting."

Leavitt had another interesting choice to make when USF scored a touchdown to cut Louisville's lead to 14-12 late in the third quarter. A penalty on the two-point conversion backed the Bulls up to the 18-yard line. Leavitt opted for the extra point to trail 14-13 with a quarter left. How much thought did he give to going for two again?

"Zero," he said. "It's a low-percentage shot. There's a lot of time. … I made all the right calls. Sometimes I question what I did, and I'm usually pretty open about that."

STILL IN IT: The sheer parity of the Big East — seven teams have lost in the first 11 league games — means USF isn't out of the picture for a league crown and BCS berth.

If the Bulls win out, if Connecticut beats West Virginia on Saturday and the Pittsburgh-Louisville winner loses another game, USF would be in a crowded tie for first place, from which the highest team in the BCS standings — likely the Bulls — would take the league's BCS berth. Those first five words are still the biggest hurdle in any scenario.

WATCH PARTY: Fans wanting to watch Thursday's football game at Cincinnati can come to the Sun Dome for the second annual Bulls Frenzy, with the game on the arena's video screens and appearances by both basketball teams. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Should the Rays still have a World Series game, there will be updates from Tropicana Field.

SOCCER UPDATE: USF's men, 6-3-1 in Big East play after Tuesday's 1-0 loss at Cincinnati, need to win their last game to clinch a first-round bye in the conference tournament. USF hosts Rutgers at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday. The Bulls, who have gotten eight shutouts from Jeff Attinella, a Countryside graduate, would host a quarterfinal Nov. 8 with a win, and will host the league's Final Four on Nov. 14-16.

THIS AND THAT: Condolences to USF defensive line coach John Hendrick, whose father, also named John, died last week in New Jersey at age 78. He had suffered a stroke last year. ... Just so Bulls fans don't go drinking just any chocolate milk, USF announced last week that Nesquik had been signed as the "official flavored milk provider" of USF athletics. Football players now get a free bottle — the strawberry goes fast — after practice.

Greg Auman can be reached at auman@sptimes.com and at (813) 226-3346. Check out his blog at blogs.tampabay.com/usf.

>>UP NEXT

USF: at Cincinnati, 7:30 Thursday, ESPN

UF: vs. Georgia, 3:30
Saturday in Jacksonville, Ch. 10

FSU: at Georgia Tech, 3:30 Saturday, Ch. 28

Miami: at Virginia, noon Saturday, Ch. 44

Leavitt believes he made the right decisions in USF's loss to Louisville 10/28/08 [Last modified: Friday, October 31, 2008 6:55pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Joe Maddon gets warm reception in return to the Trop

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The night was arranged to honor former Rays manager Joe Maddon in his first visit back to the Trop, and the standing ovation from the bipartisan crowd and scoreboard video tribute seemed proper acknowledgments of his hefty role in the Rays' success during his nine-year stint.

    Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon (70) talks with reporters during a press conference before the start of the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017.
  2. Rays vs. Cubs, 7:10 p.m. Wednesday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Cubs

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM; 680-AM (Spanish)

    Tampa Bay Rays' Blake Snell poses for a picture during the team's photo day at baseball spring training in Port Charlotte, Fla., Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
  3. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Tuesday's Rays-Cubs game

    The Heater

    Chris Archer's night ended with his 11th loss, but he and the Rays should feel good about his six solid innings. After the forearm tightness scare in Chicago, he had two rough outings (15 hits, 11 runs, seven innings), so Tuesday was a reassuring rebound.

  4. At 6-8, Lightning prospect Oleg Sosunov comes with, and needs, a high ceiling

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — When Hall of Famer Phil Esposito first saw Lightning prospect Oleg Sosunov, he joked that the 6-foot-8 defenseman could reach the Amalie Arena ceiling.

    Lightning 6-foot-8 defenseman Oleg Sosunov competes in the preseason opener. Phil Esposito jokes that Sosunov can reach the ceiling at Amalie Arena.
  5. Jones: Rays' Kevin Cash doesn't mind following in Joe Maddon's steps

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — On this particular night, he's the other guy. He's like a talk-show guest scooted to the end of the couch. He is Kevin Cash. And the Rays manager is standing in the home dugout at Tropicana Field.

    ST. PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 17: Manager Kevin Cash (L) of the Tampa Bay Rays reacts to action during the game against the Boston Red Sox at Tropicana Field on September 17, 2017 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Joseph Garnett Jr./Getty Images) 700012494