Before they hit the field for spring practice, Brian Fisher and Evan Kraky seemed destined to make an impact in the Bulls’ football future.
Now, with less than two months until the team resumes practice for the 2004 season, the pair may be doomed to remain stories of USF football past.
In less than one week, the Bulls are in danger of losing Fisher, the 2003 season MVP, and have already parted ways with Kraky, the one-time future quarterback.
Two warrants were issued for the arrest of Fisher after he failed to appear at his second arraignment, stemming from more than $17,000 in unpaid child support to a pair of Pensacola women and a charge of driving with a suspended license.
Fisher has also been a stranger to his required summer courses, thus compounding an already shaky situation with the team.
USF football coach Jim Leavitt realizes losing Fisher — now in a wide receiver and running back role — would be a big blow to a team looking to make a splash in its last year prior to Big East entry.
He also realizes that there’s not much he can do.
“(Fisher) has got some things he’s got to figure out with child support,” Leavitt said. “He has to resolve these issues and be academically eligible. Then he’ll be able to be with us; otherwise he won’t.”
Fisher wasn’t slated to play QB this season, leaving redshirt freshman Evan Kraky in the battle for the role of backup. That was spring; this is now.
Kraky was granted his release from the team Monday, a move that surely replaces his playbook studying time with filling out transfer papers.
Kraky, the best statistical quarterback in the history of Pennsylvania high-school football — breaking Ron Powlus’ previous passing yardage record with 7,400 yards, including 90 touchdowns — was considered a recruiting steal for USF even after his ankle problems surfaced, causing Leavitt to redshirt him.
However, after showing flashes of the productivity that brought him high-school acclaim during the Bulls’ spring practices — which resulted in Leavitt commenting that Kraky “came along the most” of all the QBs — and throwing himself into competition with senior Ronnie Banks for the backup job, Kraky was suddenly out of the picture — and out the door.
Leavitt cites the resurfacing ankle injury as the cause for the amicable termination of Kraky’s career with the Bulls.
“He had surgery on his ankle and we didn’t know if he’d ever be able to play again,” Leavitt said. “We didn’t think he’d ever be able to play our style of offense, the mobile QB.”
The praise Leavitt lavished upon Kraky during spring ball seemed to have worn off in retrospect.
“Had he come a long way? From not playing at all, yes, but he wasn’t close to P.J. (Pat Julmiste) and Banks. With the ankle the way it was, he wouldn’t have been able to challenge those guys.”
The nagging ankle injury is apparently severe enough for Leavitt to worry about Kraky’s future after USF.
“He felt like he could go to a smaller college nearer to home where he wouldn’t have to train as hard,” Leavitt said. “But will he ever be able to play again? I’m not sure. It’ll be difficult, but he’s such a good young man.”
So, with Kraky gone and Fisher unable to battle for his old backup role, these recent events have left the Bulls with a battle for a No. 1 — and not much else.
“P.J. is the starter, but Banks is right behind him,” Leavitt said. “But from there we’ll be looking at Louis Gachette.”
With Kraky bringing his high-school clippings back to Pennsylvania and Gachette’s closest brush with collegiate football coming by way of ESPN programming, Fisher might be on the agenda once again to fill the part-time backup role.
But first he’ll have to prove he can fill the role of law-abiding citizen.