Defenses dominate spring game

Green 3, White 6

The South Florida football team continues to set attendance records. An announced crowd of 4,607 fans – a spring game record – turned out Saturday to watch the annual Green vs. White game.

While not much can be gained from watching a game in which both teams run limited playbooks, one thing was apparent: The USF defense is still strong, despite losing nearly half of last season’s starters.

The defenses allowed nine points, forced two turnovers and had 13 sacks, as the White team edged out the Green team 6-3.

“I was really impressed, and I told the team that I wasn’t telling them that to motivate them for the summer workouts,” coach Jim Leavitt said. “Everybody seemed to be on the right page. I wanted the guys to have fun, I wanted to get good effort, and I wanted to see some good, solid football.”

The Bulls did play solid football, with the defenses showing their strengths. Senior Jarriett Buie and junior George Selvie – projected to be the starting defensive ends for USF – combined for a total of seven sacks.

Buie had four sacks for the White team, with Selvie adding three in the first half for the Green team. Redshirt freshman Patrick Hampton also added three sacks for the White team.

“I took George out at halftime or else he might have had 10 sacks,” Leavitt said. “He doesn’t need the extra reps, and we wanted to keep him healthy.”

Selvie was optimistic that Buie could carry the momentum from the spring game into the regular season.

“It’s great to have (Buie) out there and have somebody else coming off the edge,” Selvie said. “We have people stepping up in the middle to push players out to us, so we should have a pretty dominant defensive line this year.”

“Hard work really paid off, and I think we had a good spring,” Buie said. “We ran into a couple bumps here and there, but we got it done. It has been a rough spring for me, and tonight was probably the best night I’ve had this spring.”

Leavitt was also pleased by Buie’s performance.

“From what I saw, he played with a lot of energy and moved his feet real well,” Leavitt said. “That’s what we expect out of Jarriett. He’s going into his senior year and he is starting opposite of George Selvie, and we’ve got to get some action over there. He looked like he played real well.”

Junior linebacker Chris Robinson had a good night as well, making eight tackles – one for a loss – and catching an interception.

“Chris Robinson, I thought, gave us a good spring,” Leavitt said. “If Chris comes through and has a great summer, that’s really going to help us.”

Though it was a big night for the defenses, the offenses had some players with good performances.

Junior quarterback Matt Grothe was 5-for-5 with 70 yards for the Green team, including a 47-yard pass to junior tight end Andrew Ketchel on the first play of the night.

Sophomore Mike Ford was the leading rusher, picking up 56 yards on 14 carries for the White team.

“I think he’s doing a good job,” Leavitt said. “He was a little sore about halfway through the spring, but (Saturday) I thought he showed what he can do. We expect great things out of Mike Ford.”

The only points of the night came off the feet of two kickers. Senior Justin Teachey was 2-for-2 for the White team, while Delbert Alvarado was 1-of-2 – missing a 48-yard attempt in the fourth quarter – for the Green team.

“(Alvarado) felt real bad about (missing an attempt),” Leavitt said. “I told him ‘We’re 0-0 right now. We didn’t lose a game tonight.’ We just have to make sure we get it squared away for the fall.”