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USF Bulls offensive lineman Mark Popek injury could be worse

who’s open? USF quarterback B.J. Daniels looks for an open receiver during practice at Vero Beach Sports Village.

J. PATRICK RICE | Special to the Times

who’s open? USF quarterback B.J. Daniels looks for an open receiver during practice at Vero Beach Sports Village.

VERO BEACH — USF sophomore OT Mark Popek was diagnosed with a second degree sprain of the MCL in his right knee Thursday. He is expected to miss 3-6 weeks.

"Well, it's better than worst-case scenario," Bulls coach Skip Holtz said. "When you look at it, when you saw it on film and you saw what happened to him, I think it's best case. He's a great young man. We need him on this team. We're just hoping for a speedy and healthy recovery."

Popek, who was on crutches Thursday, was injured when a player rolled into his knee Wednesday. Holtz said Popek had begun to rehabilitate the knee.

While Popek will miss some time, T Jake Sims returned to the field. Sims had been held out of practice since Sunday as a precaution due to concussion-like symptoms.

"I feel good — fresh legs," Sims said.

Holtz said having players get nicked up during two-a-days is to be expected and actually allows second- and third-string players to get more experience. Sims echoed Holtz's comments.

"I think this has been good," Sims said. "(Freshman tackle) Quinterrious Eatmon has been getting a lot of reps and it's building great depth."

OFFENSE COMING AROUND: Holtz has been pleased with the improvement of the offense so far. Sophomore QB B.J. Daniels said he has been feeling more comfortable in the new system.

"I'm getting comfortable, but I'm not 100 percent there yet," said Daniels, who threw for 1,983 yards and 14 touchdowns. He added another 772 yards and nine touchdowns on the ground. "No matter what system I'm in, I just want to focus on helping the team get better.

"It is similar in a lot of ways to the old system. I'm just under center a lot more now."

Holtz said the receiving unit was taking shape, mentioning Evan Landi, Dontavia Bogan and Isaac Virgin.

NOTABLE: The team will practice in shorts today before scrimmaging Saturday. Holtz said the coaching staff will wait until after the scrimmage to evaluate possible position changes and which freshman might redshirt. … CB Kayvon Webster had a nice practice, breaking up two passes in seven-on-seven drills. … In 11-on-11 drills, CB Tyson Butler intercepted a Jamius Gunsby pass and returned it 20 yards for a touchdown, and Terrence Mitchell made a diving interception on a tipped ball. … Daniels connected with Landi on a catch and run for 25 yards.

USF Bulls offensive lineman Mark Popek injury could be worse 08/13/10 [Last modified: Friday, August 13, 2010 12:22am]

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