Senior guard Zach Hermann, one of USF’s most experienced offensive linemen, is calling it quits because of a lingering neck injury that has bothered him since the fall, USF coach Skip Holtz said on Wednesday.
Hermann participated until the second day of spring practices with pads, but tweaking the injury caused him to sit out until he practiced Monday.
“He’s been meeting with the trainer and his family for the last couple of days … and they’ve just come to the conclusion – with everything he’s been through (and) the severity of the injury – that he’s not going to continue playing,” Holtz said. “It’s a hard time for him right now.”
Hermann started 13 games the past two seasons, including the first eight last season before the injury.
“… I feel for him,” Holtz said. “My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family … We’ll do anything we can to help him and continue his treatment to make sure he’s got a 100 percent recovery and can lead a normal, healthy life with what he’s doing.”
Holtz announced Wednesday that senior defensive tackle Leslie Stirrups was dismissed from the team because of an unspecified violation of team rules.
Stirrups, listed third on the depth chart at one of the defensive tackles positions, played in nine games last season, making nine tackles in a limited role because of injuries.
“He will not be with the team in the fall,” Holtz said after practice. “I absolutely hate having to turn and go through some of these situations. He’s a great young man, and I hate it for him. These aren’t decisions I have to make. They’re decisions I have to enforce.”
Stirrups was arrested in 2006 on six felony counts of burglary, though charges were dropped. Stirrups is the second player Holtz has dismissed for a rules violation. Holtz kicked senior running back Mike Ford off the team in February.
“Every decision somebody makes outside of here – going to class, what they do academically, what they do socially … we’re all held accountable for our actions. He made a mistake,” said Holtz, who clarified Stirrups and Ford committed violations of rules already in place before his arrival. “I wish him nothing but the best, and I’ll do anything we can to turn and give him the opportunity to go someplace and play his senior year, but it won’t be here. And that’s unfortunate because he was really coming along and doing some really good things for us.”
Holtz looks for consistency in second scrimmage; depth chart to follow
Holtz said he plans to re-evaluate the initial depth chart released after the first scrimmage and release a second depth chart soon after the Bulls hold another scrimmage this Saturday.
“I don’t mind doing it after every scrimmage,” he said. “I told the players those decisions are made on the field. That’s what the scrimmages are all about. It puts a lot of pressure on gameday. It kind of puts something on a scrimmage to make it different than just walking out here.”
The Bulls may move to One Buc Place, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ facility, for their scrimmage to get away from a regular practice, Holtz said. With one scrimmage already, Holtz said he won’t be as lenient with mistakes in the second.
“You make a mistake out here (on the practice field), you learn from it. You make a mistake in the scrimmage, it’s going to cost you a job,” Holtz said. “All of a sudden, you’re going to drop on the depth chart and someone else is going to move up. I’m trying to put that pressure on them because when we get out there to open the season, there’s going to be pressure on them when they get on that field.”
The USF Center for Student Involvement named former USF volleyball player Marcela Gurgel as its 2010 Female Athlete of the Year, the school announced Wednesday.
Gurgel, an outside hitter who garnered All-Big East first-team honors last season, ranks second on USF’s all-time kills list and fourth in aces.
“Another great honor for Marcela,” head coach Claire Lessinger said in a release. “The continued recognition for her success on and off the court is no surprise. Her commitment to both volleyball and academics has been admirable. She is a great role model and sets the standard for understanding what it takes to be an elite student-athlete.
Softball on the road
The Bulls, coming off a home sweep against Seton Hall last weekend, begin a three-game series at Notre Dame on Saturday at noon. USF (18-16), which will play two games Saturday and one Sunday, has won five of its last seven.