Leavitt "We've changed a lot of things"

With less than two weeks to go until the Bulls opener, Coach Leavitt says the starting lineup is farther along and is getting close. He also talks about the injured, Jason-Pierre-Paul, and the changes they've made to become a better team.

One in, three still waiting

Incoming USF freshmen Isaac Virgin who was held out of practice Monday received NCAA Clearinghouse approval Tuesday, but the three other freshmen Ryne Giddins, Julius Forte and RB Bradley Battle were at practice but only as spectators wearing jersey's and shorts, as the wait to be cleared. "We check three, four, five times a day said Leavitt. "We're still pretty optimistic, but until it happens, it happens."

Injury update

Leavitt was still unsure if receiver Jessie Hester who's recovering from an ankle injury suffered in the spring game will be ready for the opener against Wofford. "I've said it time and time again. I thought he would be further along," Leavitt said. "We're not going to play him until he's ready."

Leavitt said a bunch of guys are still waiting but CB Tyson Butler who had a sore back" went a quite a few reps" and DB Cameron Perkins "Did some things, not contact but did some things."

Leavitt also said he wasn't sure about TE Jeff Hawkins who's been hampered with a hamstring injury, "I don't think he was out there today, but I'm not sure, but I don't remember seeing Hawk out there. He's had a real tough time with that hamstring, and hasn't been healthy in a while. We think he has talent, but we can't evaluate him until he gets healthy"

Isaac Virgin who has just been cleared is out there was thought to be out for several weeks is not 100 percent but may be closer. ‘Virgin has been out there going," said Leavitt. "He might get back a little faster. You never know about those things."

Andreas Shields was wearing pads, but isn't ready to go.

Leavitt said he didn't think anybody was hurt in Tuesday's practice, and said laughingly "If I got an injury right now I probably wouldn't say anything anyway."

Jason Pierre-Paul puts on the pads
 
Tonight was the first time that JUCO transfer Jason Pierre-Paul donned full pads in practice. "He looked like a guy that just had his first day in pads, and he's got a little ways to go. Does he have talent? Yes" said Leavitt. He's very talented and a really good guy. He's really responded and I'm impressed with that. What I like about him the most is he's very coachable. He's really listening and trying, trying to do well and running to the ball. He can run, there's no question he can run very well."

Starting lineup almost set

A few weeks back Leavitt said there were only six players who definitely had starting spots, and even though he "hasn't really thought a lot about it, there farther along than that now."
 
"If we were in nickel than Kayvon Webster would be in. Nate (Allen) will start for us," coach said that Jerome Murphy who wasn't at practice due to a class is a guy that he thinks you can pencil in as a starter. He also said that "Jerrell Young has done some good things."

On the offensive line "Sampson (Genus), (Zach) Hermann, (Jeremiah) Warren,& (Chaz) Hine, all look good."

At running back, Mo (Plancher), Lindsey (Lamar), and Aston (Samuels) look good, Matt B.J. & Evan all, look good. At TE (Kenneth) Luberice looks pretty strong. Those are some names I think will get in there.

At receiver, Bogan, A.J. Love, will be there, and Carlton Mitchell has had some good practices. Sterling Griffin is a guy that you can say is in there, no question.'

When asked about the second team linebackers Leavitt responded with "I don't know if we have our first team yet. Kion will play. Chris Robinson has played Middle, weak and Sam, so we don't know where he'll end up. We got (Sam) Barrington working a lot at WILL, Sabbath (Joseph) is pretty good and has been around a long time, and Jaquian (Williams) had a really good day. He can play SAM, Will and a lot of different places. We got to figure it out how we want to play Wofford right now."

Who will play opposite George Selvie on the D-line? "We got a number of guys," said Leavitt. "David Bedford has done some nice things, Aaron Harris & Patrick Hampton, If we can get Ryne Giddins in there, Pierre-Paul, and Craig Marshall. All those guys are getting reps and have done good things. George has a spot locked but the other is still open."

"It's getting pretty well set, pretty close," Leavitt said.

Lots of changes

Leavitt mentioned that in order to "Get Better" they have made many changes in the way they do things in camp. "We've changed a lot of things. We changed the summer work-outs, we've changed our practice schedule, we've our organization of it and how we go about it. How it will work out? I don't know, we're a very young team. What we're trying to do with practices is create more depth."

Leavitt also said to get better they've way they prepare for opponents with more starters on starters "It's hard to get looks and it's hard to get scout teams because you don't get the speed and precision. We're trying to do a lot more with our ones on ones, good against good, to get the speed of the game and get things done right," said Leavitt." I've been really impressed with our team. They know to win ball games you got to show other teams and show them well."

The last few seasons depth and injuries in key positions especially the offensive line were a concern, "We weren't as deep and we're trying to create more depth on our o-line right now." Jake Sims is back and looking good at right tackle and center and Mark Popek is done a very good job and looking good. Kevin McCaskill who has done well, and Jamar Bass is looking real good for just coming in."

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