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USF Bulls giving football players new chances to play

Coach Jimbo Fisher has FSU working in practice to avoid second-half dropoffs.

Orlando Sentinel

Coach Jimbo Fisher has FSU working in practice to avoid second-half dropoffs.

TAMPA — Working to end a four-game losing streak that has put his future in question, USF coach Skip Holtz said Thursday that he's opened up the depth chart, re-evaluating who should be on the field based on performance in three practices this week.

"We've graded every play and we've moved the depth chart accordingly," Holtz said. "We're not going to reward talent. We're not going to reward experience. We're going to reward productivity and effort and guys that have been grading well."

The Bulls (2-4, 0-2 Big East) next play Oct. 20 at No. 18 Louisville. Holtz has used the extra week to evaluate younger players such as redshirt freshman LB Zack Bullock, who has one tackle in six games, playing primarily on special teams, and true freshman Tashon Whitehurst, who has seen limited action.

"Zack Bullock is making a charge and really doing some good things," Holtz said. "Tashon Whitehurst is a young guy that is really making a push.

"(Seniors) Michael Lanaris and Sam Barrington have been out (with minor injuries) a little bit, and that's given some of these younger guys an opportunity."

Also getting a look is redshirt freshman Chris "C.J." Garye, a safety who has been moved to weakside linebacker and could see action, though he hadn't played a down in the first six games, according to Holtz.

"I think all those young guys bring something to the table. They're bringing a new energy and excitement and enthusiasm to the field right now that's fun to watch," he said.

FSU: Intensity check

TALLAHASSEE — Florida State has scored 157 first-half points and 114 in the second half. At practice, the Seminoles worked on maintaining intensity.

"You just take those kinds of situations and try to simulate them as many possible ways in a practice or a game," coach Jimbo Fisher said.

On Thursday, that meant taking periodic breaks and forcing the players to step up their intensity on the next play.

Coley Harvey, Orlando Sentinel

UF: Forget quickly

GAINESVILLE — The Gators say they've succeeded in their goal this week: quickly forget last week's big win over then-No. 4 LSU and focus on Vanderbilt.

It has been nearly three years since No. 5 Florida has been so highly ranked or won five consecutive games. How will it respond? "We'll see Saturday night," coach Will Muschamp said.

"We're still hungry," CB Jaylen Watkins said. "It's easy for us to come off that game and be still pumped about it, but nobody talked about the game. Now we're focusing on Vanderbilt."

Times wires

USF Bulls giving football players new chances to play 10/11/12 [Last modified: Thursday, October 11, 2012 9:48pm]

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