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Leavitt soaks in more exposure
By GREG AUMAN
Published July 19, 2005
NEWPORT, R.I. - A year ago, South Florida coach Jim Leavitt attended the Big East's preseason gathering with his future conference colleagues, sitting in on coaches' meetings and partaking in the league's annual clambake.
On Monday, taking in the same event as an official member, he had a better appreciation for how far his Bulls have come.
"It's pretty exciting, pretty powerful," Leavitt said. "For the University of South Florida to be involved in this is a great opportunity. It's bigger than people are even able to grasp right now. Maybe we'll be able to years from now."
The differences from Conference USA are numerous, but Leavitt was impressed with the national media attention given to the Big East, including writers from the New York Times and ESPN analyst Craig James.
"The energy and excitement here is really strong, more so than anybody realized," said Leavitt, who met the league's first-year coaches, Pittsburgh's Dave Wann stedt and Syracuse's Greg Robinson , for the first time.
LEADING TOGETHER: Leavitt said his seniors are considering rotating captains each week instead of selecting the traditional four full-time captains.
"We're probably going to go week to week with it, but we haven't made a decision on it," Leavitt said. "Our guys all want to lead. I've never done (it) like that, but we'll see."
BULKING UP: Which Bull has put on the most weight since last season? Redshirt freshman defensive end Josh Julmiste , who added 40 pounds, up to 265, since last fall. According to USF's fall roster, four other players have added 20 or more pounds: sophomore defensive tackles Allen Cray (up 30 to 295), Richard Clebert (up 20 to 295) and Eric Thomas (up 20 to 265), and receiver S.J. Green (up 20 to 220).
BIG EAST BITS: Commissioner Mike Tranghese 's foursome finished third in net score in the conference golf outing at Newport National Golf Club. The low four-some featured West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez , as well as USF sports information director John Gerdes , who won a set of Nike Golf irons. ... Former Florida receiver Aubrey Hill is on Wannstedt's staff as receivers coach. ... USF's new walk-ons include junior Walt Smith , a transfer from Ellsworth Junior College in Iowa Falls, Iowa, who rushed for 941 yards and 10 touchdowns as a running back last season. Smith had four touchdowns in one game and rushed for 177 yards in another but has earned a spot on the roster as a cornerback. Leavitt said if a scholarship becomes available, Smith might shed his walk-on status this season.