Following a cathartic win against Temple on Saturday, the USF football team faces a few injuries and availability concerns in key areas of the field, most notably under center.
Toward the end of the first half, freshman quarterback Timmy McClain scrambled out of the pocket and came up limping after the play. He would not return to the field in the second half as sophomores Katravis Marsh and Cade Fortin each took snaps at quarterback.
Scott revealed that McClain suffered a sprained ankle and is likely to be a game-time decision Thursday night at East Carolina.
“I expect him to be able to [participate in practice Monday]. Exactly how much he can do I don’t know yet,” Scott said. “My expectation is [the starting quarterback against ECU] will probably be decided sometime Thursday. We just gotta see how [McClain’s] ankle heals up.”
Marsh started the second half with the Bulls up by seven points after a Temple touchdown, but he was able to lean on the red-hot running game in the 34-14 win. Fortin entered the game in the fourth quarter with the Bulls up by 20.
“[The second half] was a great opportunity to let [Marsh and Fortin get on the field],” Scott said. “If something were to happen this week or down the road with [McClain], we feel very confident in both [Marsh] and Cade by the way that they practice and what we get to see out of them every day, mentally.”
Another unexplained absence in Saturday’s victory was junior wide receiver Xavier Weaver. Scott disclosed that Weaver had a hamstring issue and was held out as a precaution.
“We probably could have played [Weaver] a little bit,” he said. “The only thing that [heals a hamstring injury] is rest. So we made the decision that, unless we were in a situation where we had to use him, we wanted to try to get through the game and not play him, but rest him.”
Weaver will be evaluated throughout the short week in practice and Scott will delay the decision closer to game day.
“[My expectation is] that [Weaver] would be a full-go this week, but until he gets out there and runs around the next two days, I won’t really know for sure,” he said.
Other absences on the roster include freshman offensive lineman Andrew Kilfoyl, out this week with an ongoing knee injury, and junior defensive end Jason Vaughn, missing for personal reasons.
Vaughn’s absence means the defensive line, in particular, has been spread thin. The unit is already missing two players for the remainder of the season in senior Darrien Grant and freshman Jamari Stewart.
Fortunately for USF, the lack of depth was not exposed Saturday as the Bulls held Temple to just 34 offensive snaps for the entire night.
“[The defensive line] was really limited,” Scott said in the postgame press conference Saturday. “We brought eight total defensive linemen [to the game], usually we like to bring 12.”
The relatively light workload against Temple may serve the defensive line well in Greenville, given the short week.
The Bulls’ matchup against East Carolina is scheduled for kickoff at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday. The game will be televised on ESPN and broadcast on 95.3/620 WDAE/iHeartRadio Bulls Unlimited.