Spring practices drawing to a close

As the semester nears its end, so do spring practices for the South Florida football team. The Bulls participated in their second scheduled scrimmage of the spring – running about 80 plays and showing different lineups on the defensive side of the ball.

Coach Jim Leavitt, however, did not think that only positives came from the scrimmage.

“Our football team is a work in progress right now,” Leavitt said. “We have a lot of good guys who just haven’t played a lot of football, and the guys that have been here are going to have to take it upon themselves to figure it all out if we are going to have success this fall.”

During the first scrimmage, the defensive units forced five turnovers and blocked two field goal attempts. Saturday, junior cornerback Jerome Murphy – projected to be a starter for the Bulls this season – blocked one of junior kicker Delbert Alvarado’s six field goal attempts.

The kicking game has been a problem for USF in its two scrimmages. Alvarado is 4-for-11 on field goal attempts – after going 3-for-6 Saturday – and 2-for-4 on extra points. Senior Justin Teachey is 3-for-4.

“Our kicking is not very good right now. That part has been disappointing,” Leavitt said. “We really don’t have any excuses. We’ve gotten a lot of reps but haven’t had a lot of success, so we’re going to have to figure it out.”

Leavitt also said that there is always competition for starting jobs.

“Delbert will have the first opportunity, then Teachey and then (incoming freshman) Maikon Bonani,” Leavitt said.

Defensive coordinator Wally Burnham is still trying to find a player to replace former Bull Ben Moffitt at the middle linebacker position. Senior Brouce Mompremier played in the middle during USF’s first scrimmage, but was moved to outside linebacker to allow Burnham to get a look a senior Tyrone McKenzie.

“We are really young at the tackle position,” Burnham said. “Whoever steps up in there will have to be a really good reader and adjuster, and do things to help the younger guys in case they make mistakes – which younger guys do. Whoever it is (at MLB) will have to do that. Both (McKenzie and Mompremier) can play it, I just need to figure out who can do it more effectively.”

Junior Kion Wilson – who signed with the Bulls in December – did not participate in the scrimmage Saturday as he is still feeling the effects of an ankle injury.

The injury forced Wilson to miss the Bulls’ first scrimmage as well.

“We won’t know about Kion until next fall now, and that’s a shame,” Burnham said. “He really needed this work so I could find out (if he could start at MLB). I don’t know much more about him now than I did when he got here.”

The Bulls are looking forward to Saturday, when they take the field at Raymond James Stadium for the first time this season in the annual spring game.