USF: Extra points
By Times Staff
Published September 1, 2006
FROM QB TO DB
Three players who signed with USF as quarterbacks could contribute this fall on defense - junior Courtney Denson, who started last year's opener at Penn State at quarterback, sophomore Louis Gachette, who moved over to defense in spring 2005, and freshman Nate Allen, who signed as a quarterback but shifted to free safety in the first week of practice.
"Quarterbacks are usually pretty smart kids," said first-year safeties coach Troy Douglas, impressed with how naturally the former passers adjusted to defensive roles.
A fourth quarterback, sophomore Grant Gregory, had moved to safety this spring, but he shifted back to quarterback this fall after Carlton Hill left the team.
The Bulls have no fewer than eight players who have transferred in from other Division I-A programs: safety Jeremy Burnett (Purdue), cornerbacks Courtney Denson (Auburn) and Ryan Gilliam (Oregon), quarterback Grant Gregory (Indiana), receiver Amp Hill (LSU), linebacker Marvin Peoples (Maryland), defensive tackle Julian Riley (Florida) and center Ryan Schmidt (Kansas State).
Peoples and Riley were granted hardship waivers by the NCAA, allowing them to play this fall without having to sit out the traditional year between schools. Schmidt has petitioned the NCAA for a waiver.
BACK TO THEIR ROOTS
These transfers are a little tougher to remember. Match the once-obscure players to the schools where they started their college careers (answers below).
1. Jared Carnes 2. Darryl Dudding 3. Treco Bellamy 4. Devin Gordon 5. Ean Randolph
a. Reedley College b. Missouri Valley Coll. c. Concord College d. Webber Intl. e. Central Arkansas
BACK TO THEIR ROOTS ANSWERS: 1-c; 2-e; 3-a; 4-b; 5-d
With only a handful of seniors who have been contributors for the past three years, this season's Bulls shouldn't do much damage to the school's all-time records as running back Andre Hall did in 2005.
Among the records to watch: Quarterback Pat Julmiste needs seven rushing touchdowns to match Marquel Blackwell for second all time behind Hall, who has 24. Julmiste is tied for sixth with 13 rushing scores.
Julmiste needs 33 completions and 677 passing yards to pass Chad Barnhardt for second place behind Blackwell. Julmiste, who has 16 career passing touchdowns, needs 12 to pass Barnhardt. Some of Blackwell's career numbers - 57 touchdowns and 9,108 yards - might never be broken.
On defense, linebacker Stephen Nicholas, with 381/2 career tackles for loss, needs 10 to pass Greg Walls (1999-2002) for the school record. If he can get 71/2 sacks (he had seven in 2005), he'll pass Terrence Royal (2002-05), who has that record with 191/2.
Coach Jim Leavitt takes a certain pride in his lack of interest in the Internet or anything remotely related to the online world.
"I don't think I've turned on an Internet machine in my life," Leavitt said in July, lamenting the loss of personal interaction as more coaches move toward text-messaging as a communication with recruits.
"The only way I'm going to really get to know a young man is to be sitting with him, to spend time with them. It's hard to use active listening skills when you're text-messaging," Leavitt said. "It's hard to get the demeanor of a young man, to look at his body language, to know if he's looking at you eye to eye. How he's sitting in a chair, how he interacts with others in the room."
Leavitt said his staff uses text-messaging extensively with recruits, but he hasn't embraced it. He's not even sure what he'd ask if he exchanged text messages with a recruit.
"What would I say? I don't know. You're asking the wrong guy," he said. "'Have a good day? Are you going to class? Are you interested in South Florida?' Yes or no, normally yes. 'How strong is your interest?' Strong. Where has that really brought me? 'What is your favorite animal?' Sheepdogs. There's a lot more I'd want to share with a young man. It's almost cold and callous. I want to go see a guy. That's where the NCAA rules are hard."
New Big East rules forbid football players from transferring from one league school to another under any circumstances. So the closest USF will come to playing a former player in a conference game would be Louisville receiver Pat Carter, who was to transfer from Georgia Tech to USF in summer 2005.
Carter changed his mind at the last minute but still made it in the Bulls' media guide, awkwardly stopping in Gainesville before winding up at Louisville. Coach Bobby Petrino expects big things of him this fall.
"Pat's a very interesting young man," Petrino said at the Big East preseason media gathering in July. "We would take one day of the week and he'd practice on the scout team offense, the next day he'd practice on scout team defense. He played corner and receiver, if we were playing a running team, he'd be at quarterback. I would expect him to be one of our starting receivers."
- GREG AUMAN, Times staff writer