Leavitt impressed by second half

USF football coach Jim Leavitt focused on his impressions of his team?s performance Saturday against Memphis. A strong performance by the team?s defense in the last three quarters was a key point in his discussion Tuesday in the Sun Dome?s Green and Gold room.

“What I was so impressed by with our football team, what I was so proud of, was that if you?ve got a team that is down 17-0 and they are driving to go up to 24-0 a lot of times you may get worried about a team just folding the tent and going home,” Leavitt said. “I don?t know if I?ve ever been a part of a team that has come back as hard and as strong as our football team in that game.”

Leavitt said his emotions about Saturday?s game ran the gamut from a sense of pride about stopping the offense of Memphis to his disdain for losing.

“I hate losing. It bothers me,” Leavitt said. “I don?t like to talk to anybody. I don?t like to be around anybody, I?m not a fun guy to be around anyway probably, much less after a loss. But I couldn?t be prouder of our football team.”

Junior quarterback Marquel Blackwell also attended the media luncheon, and said he was upset with the performance of the offense against Memphis, but won?t take that into the game against North Texas.

“Of course you don?t want to take the negatives going into the next game,” Blackwell said. “As bad as we played, it?ll make you sick. We have to finish.”

The expectations for Saturday?s homestead against North Texas are high for the team. They are, for the first time, the favorite going into a game with a Division I-A opponent with the Mean Green ranked 106 according to collegefootballnews.com.

“Our team isn?t very happy being 1-2, that?s not what we are all about. I don?t know how many games we?re going to win or lose this year, but our guys want to play better. And we know we need to,” Leavitt said.

Midnight Madness

Also at the media luncheon were student body president Mike Griffin and vice president Dave Mincberg to discuss Bull Madness a promotion to begin the 2001-02 men?s and women?s basketball seasons. The event, planned for Friday, Oct. 12, will give the student body the opportunity to interact with players and coaches.

“We see this as the catalyst to spark interest in what?s going to be the most exciting season to date,” Mincberg said. “Just look at the games on the schedule, the Floridas, the Californias, the Cincinnatis, plus the fact that we have some amazing new recruits coming in. I think everyone is thinking tournament, and I think the campus is real excited about it and this can be a part of that.”

Practice report

Getting better was the focus of South Florida?s football team during Tuesday afternoon?s practice. The workout lasted a little more than two hours under a cloudy sky. Leavitt said he was happy with the work of his field goal and punting squads during the practice.

Junior wide receiver DeAndrew Rubin missed practice again on Tuesday due to an illness, although sophomore defensive back Kenny Robinson was in practice.

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