Cowboys Injury Reunion: Selvie + McClain News
49ers linebackers coach Jim Leavitt was the inaugural head coach for the South Florida Bulls and coached Dallas Cowboys defensive linemen George Selvie (2006-09) and Terrell McClain (2007-09).
"Coach Leavitt, that's my guy," Selvie said with a smile.
Added McClain: He is still my guy! My experience with him was great and we're all still very close."
Leavitt took South Florida from its NCAA Division I-AA beginnings in 1997 to a spot in the Big East Conference in just nine seasons. By the time South Florida fired Leavitt for striking a player in the locker room at halftime in 2009, he had led the Bulls to five straight bowls and compiled a 3-2 record. George Selvie's four seasons in South Florida from 2006-09, his most outstanding came in 2007. Selvie amassed 14.5 sacks and 31.5 tackles for losses. Selvie earned first-team All-American honors, and this was without the eventual first round talent of Jason Pierre-Paul, who played only the 2009 season in South Florida. Selvie played 51 games for Leavitt and first-team Big East and first-team All-American honors in 2007 and 2008. Every season Selvie played for Leavitt, the Bulls played in a bowl game.
The Cowboys rushman, who notched seven sacks last year for Dallas, still keeps tabs on his college coach.
Said Selvie: "We still have a great relationship. We text once in a while. He'll ask me how I'm doing, tell me 'good game,' stuff like that."
In the 2010 off-season, South Florida fired Leavitt, and the St. Louis Rams took Selvie in the seventh round. While Selvie played all 16 games and only recorded 1.5 sacks, Leavitt took a year off football before joining Jim Harbaugh's 49ers staff in 2011 as linebackers coach.
Now they all meet Sunday at AT&T Stadium, with McClain and Selvie hoping they can actually participate in the game. Two new names popped up in Thursday's injury report, guard Zack Martin (foot) and receiver Terrence Williams (back) joining Selvie, who has been limited all week with a shoulder problem and McClain (working back from a month-long high-ankle sprain). The Cowboys are growing concerned about Selvie's shoulder and are preparing Tyrone Crawford to start in his place. McClain indicated on Thursday that he may miss the game for precautionary reasons.
Only McClain's senior year in 2010 was played without Leavitt at the helm. The Bulls managed a repeat 8-5 record under Skip Holtz, and even defeated the Clemson Tigers 31-26 in the Meineke Car Care Bowl. McClain arguably had the best season of his career, sacking the quarterback three times and tackling for losses 4.5 times. He wasn't as heralded as Selvie in his collegiate career, but went way higher in the 2011 draft as the Carolina Panthers made him their third-round pick.
In addition to beating the 49ers Sunday, McClain and Selvie will be pleased to meet up with Leavitt at some point before or after the game.
"I know we will visit," McClain said. "I know his family and loves everything about being in San Francisco. It's fun to be on the other side from him."
"I'll get a chance to see him across the field and see him at the game and talk to him," Selvie said.
"It'll be great to see him again."
It would be even better if McClain and Selvie would be able to do their thing on the field, too.
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