First off Leavitt said the reason he pushed practice back was so they could get in a night practice and see how they make the turnaround for tomorrows early morning practice.
Finally on campus
The highly anticipated arrival of 5-star JUCO DE Jason Pierre-Paul finally came. He was at practice and Leavitt said "He looks good in a jersey and helmet. Running out he looks like a football player." How ready is he to play? "I don't know," said Leavitt. "It's going to take him a while. I don't expect much for maybe four weeks really to be honest with you. Will we play him in the first game? I don't know. It depends on if we can get him ready by then."
Due to his 6'5 frame many were wondering if the Bulls were going to start with him as an end or a tackle, and Leavitt left no doubt. "Defensive end, no question about it."
Other new faces
Leavitt twittered about three new players early in the day, but when asked after practice, he only mentioned Pierre-Paul "There are going to be a couple others. I am not going to mention any names. Not right now. It wouldn't be allowed."
Back home, but just for a little bit
One player who wasn't there is freshman Bradley Battles, who has lined up mostly at running back and safety for a day, has left the team and returned home to Marianna to take care of academic issues. Word is that it should be cleared up and he's expected back no later than next week.
Coach likes what he's seeing at practice
Leavitt said he was happy with what he saw "It was a good practice. It really was. The guys really worked hard. I really wanted them to come out here and really move around."
"You go late last night. We ended up going 75 snaps and they went hard. I mean it was physical. There was a lot of hitting. It was like a game almost with a lot of those guys. You come back the next day. We looked at film all day. We lifted weights in the morning and you come out here and you are hoping that everything will be good and it was."
The team's attitude
‘The guys were focused,' said Leavitt. "They wanted to do well, they want to play well. They know that we are not there and that we are not ready to play, but they know that there is a chance we can have a good football team this year. Not today yet, but there is a chance. We got to understand a lot of things and they are starting to."
After further review
After watching the film from Wednesdays scrimmage coach said there were a few things that stood out. "Explosive plays. There were a bunch of them on both offensive and defense. I thought that was good." said Leavitt. "I thought B.J. Daniels and Evan Landi both did an outstanding job."
We understand a little bit more about effort. Our defense doesn't understand effort yet, but they are closer to what it is to play with great effort. They are better then they were in the first scrimmage and you notice that. We noticed not having George Selvie, Kion Wilson, Jon Lejiste, and Craig Marshall in there. That is four potential starters in our nickel package.
The offensive line
Leavitt said he was impressed with the first team, "I thought they did okay. The first O-line did good. The Second O-line really needs work. They are not near ready yet.
When asked to run through who would be on the first team O-line if the season started today? Leavitt replied "Well it's hard because there are about two or three guys that are kind of moving in. I could name nine.If we need to play with nine and I could find a way then would. I don't know. They really are so close. It is really in between Jamar Bass and Jeremiah Warren. You have to count (Jake) Sims because he hasn't been practicing and you know he is going to be there.
At right tackle "Mark Popek is doing alright. Is it Po-pek or Pop-ek? Its Po-pek if you're French and Pop-ek if your from the German heritage. He has really gotten a lot better and has done a good job. I have been really, really proud of him. Those three guys probably and then Damien Edwards sometime does a few things. Kevin McCaskill is not going to compete for a starting job but he is snapping pretty well.
The line is young
"Our entire first, second and third team offensive line are young, all 15, not one senior, so that is encouraging as far as development. Leavitt than mentioned how they always have to restock. "We are going to bring in about three or four offensive linemen this year because we lost a couple. We have to bring in a couple guys."
The beat goes on
With practice over and Leavitt speaking to the media, the drum sounds of the marching band who was practicing on the recreational fields by Fowler could be heard loud and clear. "We have got the drums going," said Leavitt. "The band is working. How about this? It is 9 o'clock at night and they are still working while we are off the field.
Leavitt reminisced about the early years. "We didn't have a band the first three years that I was here. We didn't know how we were going to provide uniforms to be honest with you. There was no money for it. We didn't know which department was going to pay for it, but I was glad we got a band. They have been very great. They really have been. That's the tradition and the whole deal. How can you not have a band? The band is a critical piece."
Yesterday I mentioned that there were many players who are dinged up and sat out a bunch including four tight ends; Isaac Virgin (foot) was wearing a boot. Jeff Hawkins (Hammy), Kenneth ‘Ziggy' Luberice (hip), and Andrew Ketchel (Neck stinger), also Andreas Shields rolled his ankle during the scrimmage.
Tonight Virgin was no longer wearing the boot, but he traded with Andreas Shields, who was wearing a boot Thursday night.
"He hurt his ankle during the scrimmage," said Leavitt. Shields dropped two passes, he caught one. With a bad ankle, he dropped the two passes. That shouldn't happen.
Coach said x-rays showed it isn't anything significant, "He can lift weights with his upper body and get a little stronger and watch film and get back healthy. It is early enough where we might get him back for the first game. Really it is getting closer now though. You get a guy banged up right now and it is real questionable whether the guy will play in the first game.
Also limited was DL Craig Marshall (shoulder) who didn't play in the scrimmage, but played tonight & Jon Lejiste is still out with a groin injuryFor insider information and more insight on practice click here!