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  1. Sports

USF Bulls' offensive line solidifying

TAMPA — While the USF quarterback derby rages, the unit protecting the eventual winner is solidifying, coach Willie Taggart said Thursday night.

Senior Brynjar Gudmundsson is solid at center — the only line position he hasn't played in college — and Carrollwood Day alumnus Mak Djulbegovic maintains his hold on the starting right tackle spot, Taggart confirmed. A third senior, Thor Jozwiak, appears entrenched at left guard.

Even more jobs could be cemented Saturday, when the Bulls are expected to hold a private scrimmage either before or after USF's 10 a.m. Fan Fest at the Sun Dome.

"I think the unity up there, the synergy that those guys have now, is really showing," Taggart said after an evening workout, which he opened to a few dozen boosters. "And just the camaraderie that those guys have off the field is showing on the football field now.

"I think the things we're doing up front now are a little simpler for those guys, where they can just line up and play and don't have to think much. A lot of things we do, it's easy for the line."

A DAY AT THE BEACH: Taggart's decision not to practice Wednesday afternoon and take the Bulls via bus to Clearwater Beach for a few hours produced the desired effect. He called Thursday's workout a "really good practice."

"And we expected that," he said. "We gave them a day off (Wednesday), and they got a chance to get some rest, and came out and had a wonderful practice. And I had a feeling we would.

"Guys were talking (Thursday) morning about what kind of practice we were going to have. … I knew then we weren't going to have to fool guys out here to come out and practice well."

CHERRY ARRIVES: Freshman linebacker Cecil Cherry, who spent three days in Texas' preseason camp before transferring to USF, was on campus but wasn't expected to join the team for practice until next week. Cherry, a four-star recruit who played his senior season at Lakeland Victory Christian, must sit out this season per NCAA transfer rules.

Around the nation

Alabama: Fifth-year quarterback Jake Coker, a transfer from Florida State who suffered a toe injury last week, practiced for a second straight day as he and four other players compete for the starting job. Coker, who transferred from Florida State in January 2014, was expected to win the starting job last year; instead, Blake Sims won it and led the Crimson Tide to a spot in the inaugural college football playoff.

Clemson: Kicker Ammon Lakip will sit out the first three games of the season because of an offseason drug arrest, coach Dabo Swinney said. Walkon Greg Huegel will be the kicker after outperforming scholarship sophomore Alex Spence in camp. Lakip, suspended indefinitely after his arrest for cocaine possession two months ago, could return for a home game against Notre Dame on Oct. 3, Swinney said.

Idaho: The sports editor of an Idaho newspaper says he and a reporter from another paper were verbally attacked by football coach Paul Petrino after practice Wednesday, with Petrino eventually needing to be restrained by an assistant. The exchange started because Petrino, the younger brother of Louisville coach Bobby Petrino, was "very much upset" about a story Michael-Shawn Dugar, sports editor of the Moscow-Pullman Daily News, wrote about the Vandals' vertical passing attack, Dugar wrote in a column for the paper. Petrino, who 2-21 in his two seasons with the Vandals, had not commented on the exchange Thursday.

Basketball: Kentucky coach John Calipari has signed Australian 7-footer Isaac Humphries to a frontcourt that lost four big men to the NBA draft after last season. Originally part of the 2016 class, Humphries recently was reclassified to 2015. He is ranked as a top-50 prospect by several services.

Information from Times wires was used in this report.