Tuesday’s media luncheon had a different feel to it than the week before. Most of that can be attributed to USF football coach Jim Leavitt. He spoke last week about his Jekyll and Hyde personality, the difference stemming from whether his team won or lost. He commented on how he looked forward to talking to the media after a solid win, like the one against North Texas on Sept. 29.
This was not one of those luncheons. Leavitt was visibly different as he discussed South Florida’s inability to stop the run last Saturday against Utah. He spoke about being physically picked apart by the Utes defense and the offense not being able to score when needed.
“I’m always pretty optimistic. I always feel like you can beat anybody on a given day,” Leavitt said. “And I’ll still maintain that. On that day they were just a better team.”
Leavitt discussed the players who were injured during the Utah game, and briefly discussed the losses for the year, like defensive end Emerson Morris who broke his leg during the North Texas game. He also discussed the loss of defensive end Derek Carter and the still uncertain future of center Alex Herron.
Leavitt also delivered an almost-state of the union address for his team going into Saturday’s game against Connecticut with a 2-3 record.
“We’ve played five teams, five Division I-A teams, and we’ve competed in four of those pretty well. We certainly didn’t do that last week,” Leavitt said. “We are just halfway through this season. We’re looking forward to the second half and seeing how our team responds with these last six teams, starting with Connecticut.”
UConn seems to be the starting-over point for Leavitt. He pointed out that the equal records of teams and momentum of two straight wins for the Huskies will place an added challenge for the Bulls who have never lost to an opponent they have previously beaten (USF beat Connecticut 21-13 last season.)
“Connecticut is playing with a lot of confidence,” Leavitt said. “They beat Rutgers, they beat Eastern Michigan and they’ve got two games that they’ve won. They’ve been building and doing well.
“They’ve been improving and that is what you want with a football team. You want a team to improve from the beginning to the end. Which is not what we have done.”