Quarterback race highlights fall practice for Bulls

Pat Julmiste and Ronnie Banks stayed after practice Monday to work on throwing accurate passes.

” We’re not very good throwing the football right now,” quarterbacks coach Rod Smith said. “That’s where we’re weak right now.”

Monday was the first practice since the staff watched film of Saturday’s official intra-squad scrimmage. Coaches have said they were hoping either Julmiste or Banks, who are battling for the starting job, would separate themselves in the scrimmage, but Smith said that didn’t happened.

“Ronnie threw a touchdown pass (in the scrimmage),” Smith said. “That was a pretty good throw. But right now, we’ve just taken a step back for whatever reason. We’re going back to basics and starting all over. We’ll get back to what we have been doing well and try to keep going from there.”

Banks, a senior, came to fall practice 20 pounds lighter than he was last season. He started eight of USF’s 11 games in 2003 before Julmiste took the starting job.

Julmiste, a sophomore, was named the starting quarterback for this season at spring practices and is fighting to hang onto the spot.

“(Julmiste) hasn’t been beat out yet,” coach Jim Leavitt said while his top two threw extra passes. “(Banks) is playing hard and it really means a lot to him,”

Speaking of QB’s: Quarterback Courtney Denson practiced for the first time after transferring from Auburn. With three years of eligibility remaining, he will look to get playing time when USF enters the Big East in 2005. He must sit out this season.

Denson, a Miami Central High graduate, was rated the nation’s eighth best quarterback by Superprep in 2003.

Miscellaneous: Punter Brandon Baker was awarded a scholarship after he walked onto the team in 2002. Baker kicked a school-record 27 punts inside the 20-yard line last season. …Leavitt said a number of players are banged up after Saturday’s scrimmage, including freshman receiver Johnnie Peyton. He left for X-rays Saturday after he took a helmet to the ribs. …Leavitt rattled off a number of players who have played well up to this point, including freshman running backs Ricky Ponton and Andre Copeland. “We’re going to have some true freshmen playing running back,” Leavitt said. Freshman running back Chad Simpson will play if he gets NCAA approval, Leavitt said.