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Leavitt hurt by death of Connecticut player

At Monday’s Big East teleconference, USF coach JIm Leavitt said he “broke” when he heard about the death of Connecticut starting cornerback Jasper Howard.

Howard was stabbed to death during an on-campus fight just hours after the team’s victory over Louisville on Saturday.

Leavitt has had to deal with tragedy on more than one occasion. Former USF running back Keeley Dorsey died in January 2007 after a conditioning workout, and Will Bleakley, a former USF football player, went missing during a fishing trip in the Gulf of Mexico this spring. Football player Patrick Payton died in a motorcycle accident in 2001.

“It brought back all the memories of what I had to go through with our football team and then with Keeley’s family but also Patrick Payton,” Leavitt said. “We’ve had different things – Will Bleakley. We’ve had a lot of different things that have happened. There’s no way you can describe the pain that you go through.”

“There’s nothing worse, there just isn’t. It does put things in perspective… It’s very difficult.”

Daniels: We weren’t on the same page

Redshirt freshman quarterback B.J. Daniels seemed to be scrambling a good bit Thursday during a 34-17 loss to Cincinnati – with hardly anyone to throw to.

Part of the problem was facing Cincinnati’s scheme, Daniels said, in which it placed three down lineman and dropped the rest into coverage.

“They squatted on a couple of things,” Daniels said. “They obviously watched film (of us). They did a good job with their scheme.”

Daniels completed less than half his passes and had two interceptions, one that was returned for 83 yards and set up a touchdown. It’s a problem the Bulls will have to fix if they’re going to beat Pittsburgh on Saturday, he said.

“Me and the receivers weren’t on the same page,” Daniels said. “That’s something we’ll fix in the film room.”

Offensive coordinator Mike Canales said the game plan worked, but USF kept shooting itself in the foot. USF had some dropped passes in key situations.

“I thought we had open schemes – we just didn’t get the ball there at times,” he said. “When we maybe rolled out, they were rolling coverage over the top. The schemes were there. We just didn’t execute – bottom line.”

The USF receivers have been a strong point this season with at least 16 individuals catching a pass. Junior Carlton Mitchell leads the team with 23 catches and 404 yards, but he had a crucial drop on a potential 87-yard touchdown.

“It happens, he makes mistakes, I make mistakes,” Daniels said. “That’s football and also life. We have to move on to the next play and right now to the next game.”

RB Taylor practices; Young ‘probably wasn’t ready’

Junior running back Jamar Taylor, who hasn’t played this season because of an ankle injury suffered in fall camp, practiced Monday.

“We didn’t do a lot with him, but he practiced,” said Leavitt, who mentioned Taylor as doubtful to return by Saturday’s game.

Taylor was one of USF’s top three backs heading into the season and still has a medical redshirt available.

Leavitt said he was encouraged to see sophomore safety Jerrell Young, who played against Cincinnati, back in the lineup after missing five games with a compound fracture in his right elbow, but he said it was maybe too soon.

“He probably wasn’t ready (Thursday). We probably played him too premature,” Leavitt said. “To come in there and play (Thursday) is a tribute to him and his courage. He needs a little more time. He’ll be a little more ready this week.”

The Bulls were dealt a blow with news that fifth-year senior Colby Erskin tore his ACL on Wednesday, his third ACL tear since he’s been at USF, and will miss the rest of the season. Erskin had two catches for 13 yards this year.

USF-Miami game almost sold out

Only 650 tickets remain on sale for the Nov. 28 USF-Miami game as of Monday afternoon, USF Athletics announced.

Student tickets are sold out, but the athletic department will likely open a request period for further sales.

The tickets can be purchased through USF mini-plan packages on or by calling 1-800-Go-Bulls.

Women’s soccer heating up

After road wins against Louisville and Cincinnati, the USF women’s soccer team is in a tie atop the Big East American division standings with just two games to go in the regular season.

USF is currently tied with Marquette for the top spot with 17 points and will travel to St. John’s and Syracuse this weekend.

USF, which failed to make the conference tournament last year, can clinch the division if it wins the two remaining games and Marquette loses a game this weekend.