Bulls wrap up spring practices

With the end of the spring semester approaching, practices for the South Florida football team have come to a close. The Bulls completed their spring practice schedule Wednesday and look ahead to Saturday’s annual Green and Gold game.

“I’m really proud of the guys,” coach Jim Leavitt said. “At the beginning (of spring practices), you could tell we had lost a lot of great players. Towards the last four or five practices I’ve been really happy. We feel like we have a chance.”

Spring practices can determine several things for a football team – namely, where players will stand in the depth chart once practices resume in the fall. One player Leavitt has been praising throughout the spring is sophomore tackle Jake Sims.

“Jake has done a great job for us,” Leavitt said. “He’s had a real good spring, and he’s a guy that’s going to work extremely hard. I think he has a chance to be pretty good.”

Sims – a 6-foot-5, 280-pound walk-on – has also earned praise from offensive coordinator Greg Gregory.

“When he is in the group (drills), he is playing really well,” Gregory said. “He’s going to be a real good football player.”

The Bulls went into spring drills looking to fill some key positions on defense, as former USF players Mike Jenkins, Trae Williams and Ben Moffitt are seniors and will likely be taken in the NFL draft April 26-27.

Defensive coordinator Wally Burnham likes what he has seen out of parts of his defense.

“The last three or four days, we have shown some improvement,” Burnham said. “We are starting to come together and show that we’re a defense.”

Burnham also had praise for players stepping into the starting lineup.

“(Jerome) Murphy has had a good spring. He makes plays,” Burnham said. “And over the last two or three days Sampson Genus has shown improvement. He clogs up the middle and frees up the linebackers.”

Genus – a 6-foot-1 sophomore from Lake City – played offensive line last season before the coaches decided to try him out on defense.

“We didn’t know, going into the spring, what we were going to do with him,” Burnham said. “It was an experiment, but he’s going to help us out on defense.”

Gregory and Burnham said that they have a good idea of who the starting players will be going into the summer.

The Bulls have just one order of business left for the spring: the annual Green and Gold game, which will be played at Raymond James Stadium at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Today, players will be drafted into two separate teams for the game. There are a few differences between the spring game and a regular game: the offenses and defenses run a limited playbook and the clock will start after a referee spots the ball after each play.

In a regular-season game, the clock stops after scores, penalties, incomplete passes and changes of possession and does not restart until the ball is snapped again.