Barrington to start season at strong-side linebacker
USF defensive coordinator Mark Snyder knows that junior linebacker Sam Barrington is capable of playing on the strong-side, but because of depth concerns at the middle linebacker spot, Barrington has split his time between middle and strong-side.
Snyder said he’s unsure of where Barrington will play in the season opener, but Barrington admitted he expects to be at strong-side linebacker against Notre Dame.
“According to coach Snyder, I’ll line up at (strong-side linebacker) against Notre Dame,” Barrington said after practice Wednesday.
Jenkins filling in at corner
According to his coaches, redshirt sophomore safety JaQuez Jenkins had an impressive practice Wednesday, although it wasn’t at safety. Instead, Jenkins was employed at cornerback, a position he said he played in high school.
“I am very comfortable at corner – I am just trying to step in and fill that void,” he said.
USF defensive backs coach Rick Smith requires all of his safeties to learn a second position as part of a cross-training program. The policy proved useful, as Jenkins was forced to play cornerback Wednesday with cornerbacks George Baker, Spencer Boyd and C.J. Garye nursing injuries. That trio is expected back in practice by Friday.
Smith said Jenkins has adjusted to his new role quite well.
“He has worked a little bit (at corner) because there are three corners that are a little banged up and coach (Holtz) has asked him to work there some,” Smith said. “But, he is still our backup safety. All the safeties have to learn two positions.”
Jenkins is ready to fill in as needed, which shows his versatility on the field.
“Like I said, I am just trying to come in and fill that void for my team,” he said. “But, it has really done a lot for my confidence. It lets me know that my teammates are counting on me. Not only are my teammates counting on me, but my coaches are as well.”
Snyder on ND offense
Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly announced Tuesday that quarterback Dayne Crist will get the start Sept. 3, but USF defensive coordinator Mark Snyder said it won’t affect his defense’s preparation. Crist and his backup, Tommy Rees, play a similar style.
“I mean, (Crist and Rees) are both the same people,” Snyder said. “Literally, the same things with both of the quarterbacks.
“Crist is older and has a little bit more experience, but it did not shock me much,” he said. “It wouldn’t shock me again if we see two or three of their quarterbacks (Saturday). They run the same kind of offense with both.”
Regardless of who the Bulls face, Snyder said they will be ready.
“If they bring in someone else, it might change their gameplan a little bit,” he said, “but we are going to be prepared for a lot of things.”
Weak-side linebacker and redshirt sophomore Devekeyan “DeDe” Lattimore said he used the offseason to focus more on the mental side of the game.
“I improved a lot mentally (in the offseason),” he said. “It was my biggest weakness, and I really worked on it.”
Lattimore credits his teammates and his studying for the mental improvements.
“Just watching films and coming in with some of the other guys on the team has helped me out a lot,” he said.
As the reality of what a win against Notre Dame could do for the USF football program sets in, Lattimore’s anticipation for the season opener has built up.
“I am excited to play Notre Dame,” he said. “I have never been up there, so I am very excited.”
Odds and ends
Special teams coach Vernon Hargreaves said Justin Brockhaus-Kann is making a case to win back the starting job he lost to Chris Veron in the spring, saying Brockhaus-Kann was kicking “howitzers” Wednesday…The Frank Morsani Football Complex will be officially dedicated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.