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Leavitt ‘on edge’ for season opener

After a month of preseason training camp and several days of double practices, the 2008 USF football season is here.

As USF Athletics launches the new Student Ticket Zone, buzz for Saturday’s game against Tennessee-Martin has students and fans excited.

Most excited about the kickoff of the new season may be Bulls coach Jim Leavitt, however.

“I’m on edge right now,” Leavitt said at Tuesday’s press conference, the first of the season. “You know me — I’m like ‘Come on, let’s go, let’s get going.’ I enjoy being out at practice and all that, but I just want to kickoff and play, and I know a lot of the players feel that way.”

Senior defensive end Jarriett Buie said he is glad camp is over, but that doesn’t mean he’s done logging practice hours on the field.

“Our mentality hasn’t changed at all,” he said. “We’ve always been known to work hard. We know it’s game week, so we’re just trying to go out there and be focused like the coaches have taught us to be.”

After Tuesday’s practice, however, defensive coordinator Wally Burnham said the players did not practice as hard as they had been.

“I could see (a gameday mentality) in them until today,” he said. “It was hot, humid, and the heat won.”

After two days of regular season practice, the Bulls will be without one player for the season opener: Leavitt suspended freshman linebacker Quavon Taylor for missing practice Monday.

“He missed practice, (and) now he’s going to miss a few more because I’m not going to let him out there,” Leavitt said. “He’s a good guy, he really is. He has a good heart and he’s a good athlete. He’s just got to find his way around campus a little bit better.”

Men’s tennis earns honor
The USF men’s tennis team was named an Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) All-Academic team for the 2008 season.

The honor goes to any university team with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.20 on a 4.00 scale.

“I’m very proud of this accomplishment,” USF coach Don Barr said. “The players worked extremely hard off the court as well as on it last season. They all have great aspirations off the court, and I’m proud of what they have been able to accomplish.”

Four players were named ITA scholar-athletes, which requires at least a 3.50 GPA: sophomore Michael Nusslein, juniors Diego Toledo and William Sousa and senior Mahmoud Hamed.

Hamed, who was born in Cairo, Egypt, also won the 2007-2008 Big East Scholar-Athlete Sports Award, which recognizes achievement in academics, athletics and community service.

“Mahmoud is a special guy. He works hard in everything he does,” Barr said. “He’s always volunteering when I need him to. He’s a real team player.”