The USF football team got off to a fast start this year, just months before heading into the Big East.
On Thursday, coach Jim Leavitt and company held the first and only spring practice before the break from classes. Practice will resume on March 21, and the team will hold two scrimmages on April 2 and 9, and 11 more practices.
“I thought everyone worked hard and I thought everyone was focused,” Leavitt said after the three-hour practice. “All four quarterbacks worked extremely hard and competed really hard.”
Returning will be Pat Julmiste and Anthony Severino. Added to the roster was Courtney Deson — a transfer from Auburn who had to sit out last season — and freshman Louis Gachette. Plus, USF will be awaiting the arrival of highly rated recruit quarterback Carlton Hill, who will still try to graduate after receiving six months probation stemming from charges of consensual sex with a minor on Feb. 16.
“We gave (the quarterbacks) a lot of reps and that’s a long day,” Leavitt said. “We’re looking to be more consistent, and it’s not so much a concern as much as it would have been a year ago. When we lost Marquel (Blackwell), Ronnie Banks came in and did some things. But now we have a guy (Julmiste) that we can focus on and that’s been around a while. You would hope that in his second full year, that he’d get better.”
The 2005 season will be the first season since 1998 that there will not be a Gramatica brother on the roster, and with the competition getting ready to heat up for the quarterback spot, Leavitt said who stands behind the center taking snaps isn’t his biggest concern.
“Do you know what I’m more concerned about right now?” Leavitt said. “It’s replacing Gramatica at kicking. He didn’t play the last three games and he helped us win a lot of games. You may not think it matters, but it does. That and replacing the long snapper, as well, are my two biggest concerns.”
The USF Spring Game will be on April 16 at Raymond James Stadium at 7 p.m.
The USF men’s tennis team lost its fourth straight match Thursday to No. 69 Virginia Tech 4-1 at the USF Varsity Tennis Courts.
Uli Kiendl, however, was able to defeat the Hokies’ Arvid Puranen 6-3, 6-0 at the No. 1 position.
That was the only win USF would pick up though, as Juan Barragon, Freddy Barton, Marky Gattiker and Dillon Brozyna lost four straight singles matches.
“We just need to get healthy, plain and simple,” said coach Don Barr. “We have a very tough schedule this year and everyone needs to step up their play going into the four-match road trip. It’s not going to get any easier for us.”