Leavitt: Guard ready for Saturday

After an easy week at practice and the weekend to themselves, the Bulls got a bit of good news Tuesday.

Coach Jim Leavitt said left guard Jake Griffin returned to practice after breaking his left foot Sept. 16 against UCF and will be ready for Saturday’s Homecoming game against Pittsburgh.

Griffin started the first three games of the season, and fellow guard Matt Huners filled in for him in the past five games. Huners, however, is listed as starting left guard on Saturday’s depth chart.

QB shielding: Quarterback Matt Grothe had to be removed from the Oct. 22 game against Cincinnati after he suffered two lacerations to his nose. The injury, which required 10 stitches that have since been removed, happened when a Bearcat player’s shoulder pads wedged through Grothe’s facemask, the redshirt freshman said.

As a precaution, Grothe said Tuesday he will be wearing a shield on his helmet, but added that he doesn’t like it much.”I’m not a real big fan of it,” Grothe said. “It’s not that it’s real hard to see, but every time I talk, it echoes inside. But at least I know what I’m saying.”

Grothe said he’ll probably take off the shield as soon as he possibly can, unless “I do real well with it on.”

Tough test: Saturday, the Bulls face Pittsburgh quarterback Tyler Palko for the third time in three years. In the past two games, the senior has gone 34-of-49 for 614 passing yards and eight touchdown passes. Leavitt said Tuesday the Bulls know how much of a test Palko is for the entire team.

“(He’s) going to test everybody on our defense,” Leavitt said. “Certainly, you need to have a good pass rush, and you need to be in the right areas. … He’s going to make some throws, he’s going to complete some passes. There’s nothing you can do about that. But it’s going to have to be the whole defense playing together.”

Grothe said Palko is a pretty “mistake-free” quarterback.

“He just plays real smart,” Grothe said. “He’s a senior this year, so he knows his offense real well – doesn’t make a lot of mistakes.”

This and that: Receivers S.J Green and Taurus Johnson, who suffered a knee injury and a concussion on Oct. 22, respectively, practiced in full pads Tuesday and will be available for Saturday’s game.