Yes, it’s true coach Jim Leavitt has banned media from attending practices and speaking with his assistants for the rest of the season. Not to mention he hasn’t had much to say to reporters in the recent wake of three suspensions due to violation of the team’s drug policy.
But somehow, somewhere, Leavitt lost his voice.
In Leavitt’s very brief appearance at Tuesday’s football media luncheon, he explained how the team is “focused” on practice and the Bulls’ home opener against McNeese State, and even though there have been distractions, he has been “dealing with distractions for the past 10 years.”
Leavitt reiterated he has still not picked a starter for quarterback, nor would he say whether Pat Julmiste or Matt Grothe would see playing time in what could be a lopsided game.
Leavitt ended his time at the microphone saying, “I’m sorry, I’ve lost my voice, if there’s nothing else.”
Ending on a high note: With the departure of many seniors on the defensive line, defensive coordinator Wally Burnham mentioned earlier during fall drills that the line would be a “concern” and “struggle” to find a solid players to replace the likes of Jon Simmons, Terrence Royal and Tim Jones.
Redshirt freshman George Selvie has assumed the role of defensive end and realizes the young defensive line is still working to get settled.
“We’re a young defensive line, and we’re still learning a lot,” Selvie said. “It’s nice with the linebackers, Ben Moffitt, Stephen Nicholas and Pat St. Louis behind us – it’s comforting.”
Selvie, who was tried out at center last year, said he had a lot of help from former players in 2005.
“I mean, last year I had a lot of help from Terrence,” Selvie said. “He was always pushing me to get in. They taught me a lot, like how to come off the ball fast, and Terrence Royal kind of passed on his technique, so they were helpful.”
Fellow defensive end Treco Bellamy, who is now listed as the starter following the suspension of sophomore Josh Julmiste, agrees the defensive line is still a work in progress.
“We’re like the underdogs on the defense,” Bellamy said. “We have a lot of work to do on that line, and while I don’t really think about the youth of the line, knowing that we have to work just motivates me to work harder to (solidify) the line.”
The back in the backfield: Cornerback Mike Jenkins, who had 38 tackles and two interceptions in 2005, knows the Bulls’ secondary is a solid squad. That’s why Jenkins also knew he would still have to earn his spot coming into fall drills, despite his stats from 12 games last season.
“Every year we start anew,” Jenkins said. “I know I’ve got a lot of freshmen behind me, and I know that I have to come in focused and still work for my job.”
Big East honors: Junior midfielder Lindsey Brauer, who transferred from Tennessee, earned USF’s first Big East accolade of the fall season after being named the Women’s Soccer Big East Player of the Week.
Brauer scored five goals and one assist in two games this past weekend, helping the Bulls start the season 2-0, but found getting the award a bit of a shock because she figured scoring five goals wasn’t that big of a deal.
“I was actually surprised,” Brauer said. “I was fortunate to get some nice passes and get some goals.”
Minor matters: Former Bulls’ baseball player Jeff Baisley is batting .305 through 117 games with the class A Kane County Cougars. Baisley was named Midwest League MVP for 2006. The third baseman has 21 home runs, 34 doubles, 135 hits and 104 RBI. His brother Brian, who previously played for the New York Yankees rookie affiliate, Gulf Coast Yankees, had a .345 batting average and 19 hits through 14 games. Now with the class A Staten Island Yankees, Brian has a .290 average with nine hits in nine games. Pitcher Casey Hudspeth, with the class A Tri-City Valley Cats, has a 3-3 record, a 4.22 ERA and 43 strikeouts in 10 starts.