TAMPA — Sixth-year senior Mo Plancher went into USF's fall camp as the clear front-runner at running back, but a strong showing in Saturday's second scrimmage has redshirt freshman Bradley Battles making a case for carries early in the season.
"I thought he played the best of all the backs on Saturday," coach Skip Holtz said. "It's the first time I saw him do all of the little things right. He has probably the most speed and explosiveness of all the backs. … I think he's earned his way into that rotation."
Battles, 5 feet 8 and 201 pounds, struggled as a true freshman last fall, but he has shown enough this fall to push Plancher and sophomore Demetris Murray for playing time.
Recruiting: T Max Lang, a 6-6, 280-pounder from Orlando Boone rated as a three-star recruit by Rivals and Scout.com, committed to the Bulls. Lang is arguably the highest-rated recruit among 12 commitments. That includes WR Jamaal Montague, who signed in February but did not qualify academically in time for fall camp. He started classes Tuesday as a part-time student and expects to join the Bulls on scholarship in January.
Focused on five: Holtz said his staff is focusing on five true freshmen who have a chance to play: CB Terrence Mitchell, S Mark Joyce, T Quinterrius Eatmon, WR Deonte Welch and walk-on QB Bobby Eveld. All five are competing for spots on the two-deep depth chart.
This and that: Holtz expects LB Sabbath Joseph (concussion) and QB Jamius Gunsby (groin) to be back in the next day or two. … Holtz said the team will elect captains this weekend. The team will hold a final scrimmage Friday night then open regular game-week preparations with Sunday's practice. Unlike in past seasons, the Bulls will practice on Sundays after games, with Monday as the standard off-day.
UF: CB Jenkins better
GAINESVILLE — While QB Tim Tebow spent two weeks in the media spotlight after suffering a concussion at Kentucky in September, Moses Jenkins battled the same injury in obscurity for about six weeks.
Jenkins suffered a concussion in that game, but few noticed.
"I got up, I was jogging, and I was a mess," he said Tuesday.
The aftermath was more than he could have imagined.
"I'd never really had one," said Jenkins, now a senior cornerback. "I always looked at it like it's a headache and you'll be all right. But when you get one, it's a bad deal."
It wasn't until spring practices, and a collision with RB Mike Gillislee, that he felt recovered.
"It was all smiles," he said. "I felt good. … I'm feeling brand new."
Whatever it takes: Trying to fill the void left by seven defensive starters has proved to be a daunting task, but for Tampa native A.J. Jones, it's an opportunity to prove his leadership skills are more than just talk.
Jones is playing all three linebacker spots similar to former Gator Ryan Stamper.
"I just really want to help out the team," Jones said. "I was talking to (Stamper) the other day, and I was telling him I was playing kind of the same role he did. I want to be able to fit in where we're not as strong. … He told me to just step in at the point that you can. And all of us are getting reps at all the positions, so it's making us a lot better."
Antonya English, Times staff writer
FSU: Delayed practice
After lightning interrupted Florida State's practice again, coach Jimbo Fisher pulled his players off the field and waited. In years past, the Seminoles would have moved inside to a small turf room where, Fisher said, the team accomplished "nothing."
"We don't build an indoor (practice facility), we'll be here until midnight," said Fisher, who brought the team back to practice after a nearly two-hour delay. "We ain't not practicing. We ain't not practicing. I'm tired of losing."
Fisher has campaigned for an indoor facility since he became coach in January.
Quick hits: Starting LT Andrew Datko (shoulder) returned after missing more than a week. … Reserve OL Blake Snider (foot) will miss about seven weeks. Redshirt freshman Bryan Stork is likely to move up.
UM: Evaluating LBs
CORAL GABLES — Much was made last week when Miami senior Colin McCarthy, a former Clearwater Central Catholic standout, received reps at middle linebacker, but position coach Micheal Barrow said it's too early for assumptions.
McCarthy moved from the outside because Barrow is trying to find the best combination.
"We just moved him to the middle to give him some reps," Barrow said. "It's not that big of a deal."
Senior Kylan Robinson, who spent his senior year at Chamberlain High, is expected to start in the middle. McCarthy, a three-year starter, and junior Sean Spence will be joined by Robinson or Ramon Buchanan.
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
UCF: Happy return
ORLANDO — At first, UCF's Emery Allen didn't think his foot was seriously hurt, and the cornerback certainly didn't think he would miss an entire season.
"Actually, it didn't hurt at all," said Allen, who broke it in spring practice last year. "When I first hurt it, I kind of tried to get back on the field and run again, and I ended up not being able to run."
After being redshirted in 2009, the senior had time to reflect on how fortunate he is to have one more season: "Honestly, I just thank God for giving me another opportunity."
Quick hit: Coach George O'Leary said the Knights will scrimmage today and begin installing a game plan for South Dakota on Thursday.