Jim Leavitt Luncheon Quotes: Nov. 8, 2006

USF Head Coach Jim Leavitt talks about the Bulls win over Pitt, the status of quarterback Matt Grothe, injuries on the offenseive line, and the upcoming game against Syracuse, and much more at his weekly Press Luncheon Tuesday

Opening statement … "Just going back, I'll talk a bit about the last game. I thought our defense played pretty well. The coaches decided to give the defensive player of the week award to the whole defense, and I thought that was appropriate because it was a complete effort. Matt (quarterback Matt Grothe) got the offensive player of the week. Special teams player of the week was Teachey (punter/kicker Justin Teachey) with the plays that he made and the kick offs. It was a good win for us, another conference win. Those conference wins are pretty valuable. We have to work on Syracuse right away, started Sunday like we normally do. We've been working on them pretty hard. Sunday night and certainly Monday and practice last night, the guys did a good job. Then last night, we worked for awhile, and certainly all day today.


Syracuse is a very good football team. I've watched them against Iowa and with West Virginia , the score is not indicative of the game. If you watched the game, you'd know what I'm talking about. Just watching against Louisville , they had Louisville , they had them on the ropes, they could have gone up 10-nothing at half time. They had another touchdown called back or otherwise it's a one-touchdown game. It's the same; it's very similar to our game with them, tied 3-3 at halftime. Pretty even teams. It's going to be a heck of a football game, I know that. And we are going to have to. I know I same the same thing every week, pretty much, but it really is the truth.


Their quarterback is very big, he has a quick release, he knows the offense, and he can throw a great ball. Their offensive line has got some awfully good players. The offensive line, they use their tight ends a lot. Running backs are doing very well, and the receivers have caught come great balls, some great throws. He can be so precise. Their defense is big, really big. They will come get you, and do some awfully good things. The kicker has done a real good job. The punter has done a very good job. Their kicking game is good.


They've beaten some good teams. They beat Illinois at Illinois . They beat Wyoming , and Wyoming has beaten some pretty good teams. They are a good football team. It should be a heck of a ball game. It's going to be a real challenge for us, that's for sure. Practice today, I'm a little concerned about the rain and the weather. We really need to get out there and go. It's a real important day to practice, real important day. This is our work day. We get out in full pads and go to work today. I mean, every day is our work day for us, our guys worked pretty hard last night. Today is really important. So we need to get out and really have a good practice today.  I think it's really important that we practice well today.


On quarterback Matt Grothe's foot … "I think its fine. But I'm not the doctor. He's kind of had some foot problems all along. He kind of runs interesting anyway. I expect him to be fine, but we prepare Pat (back-up quarterback Pat Julmiste). Pat has worked hard and Grant (number three QB Grant Gregory) and Anthony (number four QB Anthony Severino). I've said from the beginning that I like all four of our quarterbacks. They all get reps. They're all expected to be ready to go."


On offensive and quarterback … "We're going to be tested there is no question about that. Our offensive line is going to have to play well, very well, for us to win this football game. We talked about it, too (at practice). It's important."


On injuries in the lineup and the lineup rotation on the offensive line … "We had Jay Griffin out. That was one reason we settled in, those were the ones who were healthy. We've got about seven or eight guys who can play. Danny Tolley was really hurt all of last summer and through all of camp, so that really put him behind. Jared Carnes does some good things, but he just hasn't done enough good things. Then you have Jay Griffin. Those are the guys we trust. That's it. We don't have anyone else we are banking on. So we hope to get Jay back going, it's a process, it's not easy. We need him to get back, it's important."


On linebacker Stephen Nicholas "He's done a great job. He's a tremendous athlete and a great leader. He loves the Lord very much. He uses the God given talent that he has."


On Trae Williams "Trae Williams is really special. He works very, very hard. He is a tremendous corner, he makes a lot of plays and he works hard in practice. Same thing I was talking about Stephen, both of them work so hard in practice, that's what makes them. Not only do they have really good talent, they work hard. It's important."


On seniors … "They are a great group. They all work hard. It's not a real big group, but boy it's a good group. They've done a great job this year in leading and trying to make sure this team is accountable to each other."


On the reverse run and trick plays and why it worked last week … "We always have it in there. Why it has worked is because we've been running where there aren't any defenders. It's been able to work out for us at different times, but it's not worked at times, too. It's just a mis-direction play that you have to have in there. It's been effective sometimes, I guess."


On the Syracuse game being a trap game and there being a let down with Louisville and West Virginia coming up during the following two weeks … "Honestly we can play a really good game and struggle. They are a good football team. You have to look at some of the teams they have lost to. You have to look at some of the teams they have beaten. This team can play with anybody in the country; there isn't any question about that. You're looking at Louisville right now is in a position to play for the national championship, possibly. And they played Louisville off their feet. So when I make a statement like that it's real. This team can play with anybody in the country. We're not good enough to ever look ahead of anybody. We never will be, not as long as I'm here. I hope you understand what I'm saying.


We forget what it is to work and train and play hard, and we're not going to do that. We never will. What our guys do, I don't know. I never think things like that. To be honest, all I thought about last night was today. I didn't sleep a lot last night because I've been thinking about practice today. I kept thinking about the different things that this team does. I really want to have a good practice today, that's all I've really been thinking about. I really haven't thought about anything else. I really mean it."

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