It was a painful blister that kept redshirt freshman defensive end Ryne Giddins out of Saturday’s opener against Stony Brook, but Giddins practiced Sunday and should play this weekend against Florida, said coach Skip Holtz.
Giddins, who is listed as a second-teamer on the depth chart, could have “probably” played in the opener, but Holtz said the decision was based on the fact that he didn’t practice much last week.
“We have policy you have to practice Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday to play,” Holtz said. “If a player doesn’t practice all week and hasn’t executed the game plan, it’s real hard just to stick him out there.”
“He came out here (Sunday), ran around, and he’s fine. I would expect him to be 100 percent by Saturday.”
Holtz said the Bulls, who were decimated by injuries in the offseason, had none in the first game that should keep anyone out of Saturday’s matchup with the Gators.
Sophomore tackle Mark Popek, senior receiver A.J. Love and sophomore receiver Sterling Griffin all are still nursing injuries suffered during or before camp.
Playing it by ear
There aren’t many louder stadiums in college football than The Swamp, and Holtz said he may not have the luxury of simulating Saturday’s game this week like he’s simulated past games with hostile crowds.
“When we were at Notre Dame, we had the indoor facility. We’re playing at Tennessee and “Rocky Top” played non-stop – it gives the players an idea of what’s going to happen,” Holtz said. “When we were at South Carolina, we used to turn the stereo system on in the stadium and then go get about 15 plays in with the crowd noise going.”
Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Florida’s home field, seats about 90,000 (compared to Raymond James Stadium’s 65,000), and is always at full capacity.
“They need to understand you can’t just turn and yell to the guy beside you,” Holtz said. “You have to be really focused and dialed in. You can’t yell from the sideline and tell a corner to get inside leverage or outside leverage.”
In all, 23 players made their Bulls’ debut on Saturday, including five true freshmen … True freshman Terrence Mitchell is a likely candidate to return punts in the near future, Holtz said … True freshman walk-on Stephen Bravo-Brown had four catches for 48 yards.