Bulls banged up for Bearcats

After losing its second game of the year — and seven players to injury — Saturday night against Louisville, the No. 23 South Florida football team received some good news Tuesday  as it prepares to face Cincinnati on Thursday.

Senior tackle Marc Dile, who left Saturday’s game with an injury to his right foot, practiced for the first time this week. He missed the first two practices of the week, watching from the sideline with a boot on his foot.

“Dile got banged up last weekend, but he had a good practice today,” USF offensive coordinator Greg Gregory said. “I think he’ll be ready to play.”

The status of sophomore running backs Mike Ford and Jamar Taylor and senior linebacker Brouce Mompremier remain uncertain. Ford had a noticeable limp at practice Tuesday and was held out of practice all week.

The USF coaching staff does not elaborate on the status of injuries, but running backs coach Carl Franks said Ford is “a little tender.”

Mompremier was held out of practice this week as well. He left Saturday’s game against Louisville after taking a blow to the back of the head. Mompremier missed two games after suffering a neck injury against Florida International on Sept. 20.

Defensive coordinator Wally Burnham said the Bulls will continue to play in five and six defensive back sets, especially with Cincinnati using a spread offense.

He said his main concern is where to play the guys he has on the roster. Senior safety Danny Verpaele suffered a broken foot against Syracuse and is not expected to return to the team this season.

Senior Tyller Roberts has a lot of experience, but he was beaten deep by Louisville quarterback Hunter Cantwell. A potential replacement, redshirt freshman Quenton Washington, has limited game experience.

The Bulls may still turn to last week’s replacement, senior Louis Gachette, but he didn’t even make a tackle in the loss to Louisville.

Burnham said Tuesday that he will use as many guys as he can, but didn’t say who was starting where.

At Monday’s weekly press conference, defensive backs coach Troy Douglas said Roberts is trying to regain his confidence.

“He’s trying,” Douglas said. “I’ve got to kind of get on him and get his swagger back. He doesn’t talk as much in practice. And that’s what kind of worries you a little bit — that he’s down on himself.

Douglas said it is important for Roberts to rebound.

“We’ve got to help him, and we’ll see what happens,” he said. “We’ll try to help him out a little bit, put him in situations where he can be successful.”