USF offense runs through defense

Published March 24, 2006

TAMPA - The consensus entering spring drills was that the defense was the Bulls' better half, but that wasn't the case during the first day practicing in full pads.

Coach Jim Leavitt ended Thursday's practice with full-contact goal-line drills, and his offense dominated, scoring eight times in nine tries.. As a result, the offense was able to leave early while the defense ran sprints across and back the practice field 16 times.

"It was a great day for offense," Leavitt said. "I have a defensive mentality, but I didn't think they'd score that many times. Offense really did some good things. It was encouraging."

And that was a unit missing starting quarterback Carlton Hill, who left early for classes for the second day, and second-string running back Moise Plancher, who hurt his hamstring Wednesday and will be held out of Saturday's scrimmage.

USF's defense, with two first-year assistants coaches Bernard Clark (defensive line) and Troy Douglas (safeties), left the field intent on a better showing Saturday. Leavitt said he expects the defense to lead the team.

"You would think, but they weren't today," he said. "I think the defense might be different next time."

Junior defensive tackle Eric Thomas of Lake City, who had six tackles in two seasons, has opted to become a student assistant rather than continue to battle a painful knee injury, Leavitt said.

"Eric hurt his knee his last game in high school, and he's never been the same," Leavitt said. "He's such a courageous guy, and my heart goes out to him. He's going to help us coach, help bring somebody else along."

Defensive tackle Julian Riley, a 6-foot-4, 285-pound Lakewood graduate who transferred from Florida in January, switched to a green No. 85 jersey and worked with the tight ends.

Plant quarterback Robert Marve, expected to be one of the area's top senior quarterbacks this fall, attended practice for the second day in a row.

BASEBALL: USF senior Kris Howell was named to the Big East Honor Roll for the week ending March 19. Howell of Tierra Verde hit .500 last week, helping USF to a 3-1 record and the team's first-ever Big East series victory against the University of Connecticut. ... In St. Augustine, former Hillsborough Community College player Shane Darnofall had a key single as Flagler College scored seven runs in the eighth to rally past Grand View College of Des Moines, Iowa.

SOFTBALL: Florida State swept Florida International, 3-1 and 8-0. FSU improved to 22-14, while the Golden Panthers dropped to 15-20. FSU, which swept its third doubleheader of the season, has won five straight against FIU.

SWIMMING: University of Florida senior Ryan Lochte set American and NCAA records in the 200 individual medley at 2006 NCAA Men's Swimming & Diving Championships in Atlanta. Lochte's time was 1:40.55. ... Florida State's men's 200 free relay team of senior Joel Roycik, junior Alex Kennon, and sophomores Jarryd Botha and Ed Denton earned honorable mention All-American honors for its 15th-place finish. The team finished in 1:20.08. ... Georgia's Chris Colwell of Brandon won the men's 1-meter diving finals at the NCAA championships.

TRACK: UF Senior Kayne DaKoski of Palm Harbor posted the second-best score in school history and an NCAA provisional total in winning the decathlon at the Florida State Relays. DaKoski easily won the decathlon with 7,211 points with sophomore teammate Kurt Lee of Spring Hill taking second with 6,197 points.

Information from other news organizations was used in the report.