Leavitt Bullish On Winning at AU?

A report on Auburn's game two opponent, the University of South Florida, is featured.

Tampa, Fla.--South Florida coach Jim Leavitt says he is impressed with the Auburn football team his Bulls will face on Saturday night at Auburn's Jordan-Hare Stadium.

The head bull put down a thick layer of compliments when discussing the Tigers.

"They're big, they're physical, they can run, they can throw, they got big receivers, big line, good quarterback, tremendous running attack, physical tight ends, defense that's very big and strong, front four, linebackers absolutely fly, outstanding secondary, good kicking--its all there," he says. "That's why they're rated as high as they are in the country."

Saturday night's game will be the first football matchup featuring the Bulls and Tigers. Both teams come in with 1-0 records. Auburn defeated Kansas State 23-13 while USF defeated Elon 28-13.

"It was a good win," Leavitt says. "Any win is a good win. Hopefully, you're going to get better and you're not going to stay the same through the season."

Tailback Mike Ford, a 6-2, 210 freshman, was the offensive star for the Bulls in the opener as he scored three touchdowns. A player who was recruited by Auburn and many other major programs, Ford signed with Alabama, but re-signed with USF when he did not qualify academically.

"I thought he did some good things," Leavitt says. "He's a big back, he can run, and we got to get the ball in his hands."

Leavitt points out that he was more pleased with the defense in the first game than the offense and is not happy about the kicking game that included two dropped punts.

A player who stood out on opening night was defensive end George Selvie, a 6-4, 245 sophomore, who tied a school record with four sacks. "I thought he would be a good player, he would do some things for us, but why he's such a good player, he has such a good heart, and he coaches himself," Leavitt says.

The visitors from the Big East Conference and their coach have earned praise from Auburn's head man, Tommy Tuberville, as a very dangerous opponent for the Tigers based on how USF has performed in big games in recent seasons. Tuberville says the Bulls will bring a team with plenty of athleticism to Auburn.

Leavitt says he is looking forward to the challenge of taking on a nationally ranked team from the SEC in front of an expected crowd of more than 80,000 fans. "To play in the football atmosphere that we're going to play in on Saturday night is what I got excited about when I played," says the former University of Missouri player.

Kickoff time for the Tigers vs. Bulls matchup is 8 p.m. CDT with television coverage on ESPN2.

Commenting on his team's opening night victory at Raymond James Stadium, Leavitt says, "Some individual effort was outstanding; our defense for the most part really played well. Special teams I was mostly frustrated with."

Leavitt's Bulls finished 9-4 last year including a win on the road vs. a Top 10 ranked West Virginia team. "We have to play great defense, great special teams and we got a shot to win the ball game."

USF Notes: Commenting on Auburn's multiple mascots, Leavitt says, "Its Auburn, it's the war eagle, it's the tiger. How many teams you know that good that have two logos. That's power."...AU fans will see a familiar name on the field for the Bulls. Former Tiger defensive back Courtney Denson from Miami is a senior wide receiver for South Florida. Commenting on Denson's play vs. Elon, Leavitt says, "He did some good things. It means a lot to Courtney. He already has his degree. He is a senior. There are no more chances for him. This is it."...The USF coach says he doesn't plan to practice with crowd noise to prepare for the atmosphere at Jordan-Hare Stadium. " I don't know if we have big enough speakers. Plus I hate it. It gives me a headache and then I wake up with a headache the next day, too."...Starting center Nick Capogna is injured and will not play vs. Auburn, the coach notes.

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