Sophomore cornerback Quenton Washington couldn’t bear to see his roommate, sophomore safety Jerrell Young, get injured in USF’s season opener against Wofford on Saturday.
Young, who had a metal plate inserted in his broken right arm Tuesday, won’t play when the Bulls face Western Kentucky Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium.
“We came in at the same time, and all we’ve been talking about since last year was getting out on the field together and being able to play together,” Washington said. “It’s really unfortunate that he got hurt. It hurt me to my heart.”
At the moment, Washington won’t play alongside his friend, but he said he’ll do everything he can to make sure Young stays positive.
“I’m just trying to keep his spirits up,” Washington said. “That’s my roommate.”
With Young on the sideline, Washington and the rest of the USF defense focus on a different offense than it faced against Wofford.
Unlike the Terriers’ rush heavy triple-option, Western Kentucky relies more on the pass. Washington said even without Young, the defense is ready for the challenge.
“That’s why we play defensive back: to guard the pass,” he said. “When you get a passing team out there, you look forward to it and see how you stack up. We’re going to get tested in the secondary.”
Western Kentucky lost to Tennessee 63-7 Saturday, a game in which the Volunteers racked up 655 yards of total offense and 34 first downs. However, USF coach Jim Leavitt isn’t looking at that as a gauge for the Hilltoppers.
“It doesn’t matter what people say to me about the Tennessee game,” he said. “You get into an environment like that, it can be tough. We’re going to have to play extremely well.”
In addition to dealing with a road crowd, USF must deal with the emotion of a “black out” in WKU’s newly renovated Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium.
Last season, USF played FIU in its opening game at a new stadium, and the Bulls won 17-9. A few seasons ago, Pittsburgh opened its new stadium with USF.
“It seems like every year we open up someone’s new stadium,” said USF quarterback Matt Grothe, who needs only 88 yards to pass former West Virginia quarterback Pat White on the Big East all-time yards list. “It’s going to be like (the FIU game) last year. They came out ready to play in their new stadium, and we know (WKU) is going to come ready to play. We just have to come out and play our ball and score early and often.”
USF defensive coordinator Joe Tresey said he won’t let Young’s absence affect what schemes they use. He said the Bulls will still use a five defensive back nickel when the situation calls for it.
“You can’t (let it affect what you run),” he said. “You have to figure out how to get it done unless you get to the point where you’re depleted and you don’t have a choice. Until you get there, you have to make it work.”