Bulls on the prowl

Coach Jim Leavitt used five different running backs in Saturday’s 41-10 win against McNeese State.

But in the game, redshirt freshman running back Moise Plancher came out at halftime after tearing the ACL in his right knee. Now that Plancher will miss the rest of the season, Leavitt is still undecided as of Thursday who will start in his place Saturday against Florida International.

In the McNeese State game, Plancher, senior Walt Smith, freshman Keeley Dorsey, sophomore Ben Williams and walk-on Colby Erskin together rushed for 208 of the Bulls’ 286 rushing yards. Quarterback Matt Grothe had 58 rushing yards.

While Leavitt is uncertain of a starter, he said earlier this week he would talk with running backs coach Carl Franks, adding, “I imagine Carl will play who practices the best this week.”

But there is no mystery this week against FIU. The quarterback starter is set. Leavitt did no dancing around this week after Grothe came off the bench to throw for 171 yards and two touchdowns and rush for another against McNeese State.

Following Thursday’s practice, Leavitt said senior quarterback Pat Julmiste, who suffered a thigh bruise Saturday that caused him to leave the game, is doing “just fine.” He also said all quarterbacks – the rest of the players – are “ready to go.”

But even though Leavitt and company are ready to go, he’s still concerned with the talent FIU has on board and the youth of his program.

“We’re still working,” Leavitt said Wednesday. “We’ve got talented guys, but we’ve got to continue to get better. We don’t have to earn respect, but we still have to prove what we’re all about. We beat McNeese State.

“I’ve never been with a team that can just roll out there and win.”

The Golden Panthers, who return five offensive starters and six defensive starters, lost their season opener to Middle Tennessee State 7-6 and went 5-6 in 2005.

FIU returns quarterback Josh Padrick, who Leavitt calls “very talented.” Padrick threw for 13 touchdowns and 2,461 yards last season. He went 21-of-38 for 121 yards against the Blue Raiders.

Wide receiver Chandler Williams, who led the team with 870 receiving yards in 2005, had seven catches for 68 yards against Middle Tennessee.

Leavitt also said after Thursday’s practice that tackle Marc Dile looked good. He said Dile “probably wouldn’t start, but will play.” Leavitt also said tackle Thed Watson is questionable to play Saturday. Leavitt also said he had not decided on a starting tight end with senior Will Bleakley out due to his DUI arrest Tuesday.

Keep an eye on: USF’s linebacker corp. Comprised of seniors Stephen Nicholas and Pat St. Louis and junior Ben Moffitt they combined for 13 tackles against McNeese State. Moffitt even played with a cast, which has been removed for Saturday’s game. Nicholas, who is on Butkus Award Watch list for the third consecutive year, also broke up a pass and led the team with seven tackles.