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)

South Florida Bulls to focus on replacing lineman after bowl

Jake Griffin, right, is one of four USF senior starters on the offensive line playing his college finale on Saturday.

BRIAN CASSELLA | Times (2007)

Jake Griffin, right, is one of four USF senior starters on the offensive line playing his college finale on Saturday.

TAMPA — With four senior starters playing their final game Saturday, finding a new offensive line will be a major priority in USF's offseason, with 2009's starting five coming together from several different sources.

The Bulls will lose C Jake Griffin, G Matt Huners and Ts Marc Dile and Ryan Schmidt, but the cupboard isn't entirely bare. Sophomores Zach Hermann and Jake Sims have 17 and nine career starts, respectively, and freshmen Danous Estenor and Jeremiah Warren will compete for starting jobs as well.

Recruits? There's a potential starter on the way in former Florida State T Daron Rose, who plans to transfer this summer, and the Bulls hosted two top junior college linemen last weekend.

Jamar Bass, a 6-foot-4, 290-pound recruit from Hutchinson JC in Kansas, will visit Illinois this weekend, then choose between the Illini and Bulls. And 6-7, 305-pound Carlos Savala, from the College of the Desert in California, has USF as his top choice after his official visit. Bass will enroll in January, while Savala would join with the incoming class next summer.

Another option is DT Sampson Genus, who played on the offensive line in 2007 but switched over to help provide depth on defense. Genus has eight tackles this season, but with both starters returning at defensive tackle, could shift back to offense; coach Jim Leavitt said he'll leave that decision up to Genus.

The challenge of protecting QB Matt Grothe in his senior season will go to a young, largely untested group, but by signing day the Bulls should know more about how the line might stack up.

2-FOR-1: USF, having sold its initial allotment for the St. Petersburg Bowl and gotten an extra 1,000 tickets Tuesday, added a promotion giving fans who purchase a bowl ticket a voucher for a free ticket to the men's basketball Big East opener Jan. 2 against Syracuse.

Memphis returned a majority of its allotment of 10,000 tickets, according to USF, freeing up more lower-level seats for Bulls fans.

NOT FALLING: Free-throw shooting has been a major concern for Stan Heath's team. After Tuesday's loss to Vanderbilt, the Bulls are hitting 57 percent (94-of-165) at the line, down from 63.8 last season. It's a teamwide problem, as the best shooter is G Dominique Jones, at 71.7 percent.

Senior G Jesus Verdejo is leading the team in scoring despite struggling at the line. After hitting a team-best 80 percent last season, Verdejo has hit 9 of 20 attempts, good for 45 percent.

THIS AND THAT: Auburn's hiring of former Iowa State coach Gene Chizik should increase the Tigers' recruiting presence in the bay area. Chizik, a Clearwater native who spent three seasons coaching at Seminole High, should go up against the Bulls often on local recruits. … The past three men's basketball home games have had crowds announced at fewer than 2,900. The Bulls didn't do that once in Heath's first season.

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

FAST FACTS

St. Petersburg Bowl

USF vs. Memphis: 4:30 Saturday, Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg

TV: ESPN2

Tickets: ticketmaster.com or gousfbulls.com

South Florida Bulls to focus on replacing lineman after bowl 12/16/08 [Last modified: Thursday, December 18, 2008 9:27am]
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