Loss of Herron forces offensive line changes

Freshman offensive center Alex Herron strained his medial collateral ligament Thursday and has not practiced since. South Florida coach Jim Leavitt said he does not expect to have Herron back for Saturday?s game at Memphis. Leavitt said Herron would be held out for ?a while.?

Senior Jimmy Fitts will move over from right guard to snap the ball for the offense. Fitts played center during spring practices and Leavitt said the senior is prepared for the position. Freshman Levi Newton and senior Ken Dawson will be competing to fill the vacancy left by Fitts at right guard.

Leavitt focuses on sustaining momentum

At Tuesday?s media luncheon in the Sun Dome?s Green and Gold Room, Leavitt expressed concern about carrying on momentum after limited practices during the last week. Leavitt said he was concerned that two practices in seven days will mean a lot of work to get prepared for the Memphis Tigers.

Keeping the momentum and a steady pace coming off the win against Pittsburgh Sept. 8, is a priority going into this week?s practices.

?We practiced OK last Wednesday and Thursday, nothing great. I think we probably did a pretty good job under the circumstances,? said Leavitt. ?Last night the guys were trying. They really were working pretty hard. You could tell we?d been off a few days. We weren?t in sync all the way through, but I thought our players did a pretty good job of diving back into it ? working very hard.?

As for the upcoming game against Memphis, Leavitt said he was looking toward Saturday as a way for the team to get acclimated to Conference USA competition.

?Memphis had the No. 1 rushing defense in America last year and they don?t look like they?ve dropped off at all,? Leavitt said.

Leavitt encouraged by strong night practice

Tuesday night?s practice under the lights lasted a little more than two hours as the Bulls prepared for Saturday?s game at the Liberty Bowl. Leavitt cited coaching issues and a need to review film earlier in the day as the reason for moving the scheduled 4 p.m. practice to 7 p.m. But he said these later practices are beneficial because the remainder of USF?s games will be played at night.

?I did want to have another opportunity at night, because we are playing all night games now. There are no more afternoon games and I want our guys used to it,? Leavitt said. ?It?s almost a process of waiting for practice. I was going out of my mind today just waiting for practice to start. It really felt like a game-day thing, where you wait for that game to start. You almost have to condition yourself that way.?

One injury-related note from Tuesday?s practice was that redshirt junior Lee Roy Selmon Jr. was taken off the practice field with ice on his left knee. Leavitt said the injury was not serious and he should be ready for practice Wednesday.

Junior wide receiver DeAndrew Rubin is still suffering from a turf toe injury he suffered against Pittsburgh, but Leavitt said he is getting back to where he needs to be.

Jarrett Guthrie covers football and can be reached at oracleguthrie@yahoo.com