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Defense looks to rebound in Spring Game

Published: Thursday, April 19, 2012

Updated: Thursday, April 19, 2012 10:04

Last week’s Green and Gold Bowl wasn’t exactly an impressive showing for the USF defense, giving up 83 combined points to the various USF offenses. In Saturday’s Spring Game at Raymond James Stadium, however, the defense is determined to have a better showing.

“We didn’t (do much team practice) today, but I’m glad we didn’t because it almost turned into a scrimmage out there,” coach Skip Holtz said of Wednesday’s energetic session. “It was just a lot of jabbering, a lot of emotion, a lot of celebrating. It was a passionate practice. The defense feels like they have something to prove. They’re tired of reading, ‘The offense scored 10 touchdowns in the scrimmage.’”

Each of USF’s three quarterbacks created multiple touchdowns during last Saturday’s scrimmage at Corbett Stadium. Yet with the team moving to Raymond James Stadium, its actual competition field, the defense is determined to have a better showing Saturday.

Starting quarterback B.J. Daniels said the mind games have already begun.

“I can’t make it across the field without somebody saying something to me,” Daniels said. “It’s a fiery bunch and it started with the linebackers. I’m not going to mention any names, but it started with them.”

The defense will have to adapt to life without defensive tackle Cory Grissom, who fractured his right fibula near the ankle Monday. Grissom’s surgery is set for today, with an expected recovery time of about three months.

Without Grissom, a key player in the Bulls’ run defense, the line is very thin. Only Luke Sager and Elkino Watson have significant experience at the position. Sager accounted for 10 tackles last season, while Watson recorded 33 in a breakout freshman year.

While the linebackers will have a new rotation in front of them, senior Sam Barrington said the defensive unit is ready for Saturday’s test.

“I think today solidified that it’s going to be high energy,” he said. “I’m looking forward to Saturday, for real.”

Gate C will open for fans at 5 p.m., with the kickoff scheduled for 6 p.m. Parking and admission is free for the general public. 

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