August 25, 2005

Big East Roundup

PITTSBURGH

ESPN GameDay to visit Pitt; Smith will play in opener

ESPN announced this week that its GameDay show will originate from Pittsburgh on Labor Day weekend when the Panthers take on Notre Dame. GameDay features hosts/analysts Lee Corso, Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit. The last time GameDay was in Pittsburgh was 2003, when Pitt upset nationally ranked Virginia Tech, 31-28. ABC will telecast the game nationally at 8 p.m.

Starting defensive tackle Thomas Smith had his knee scoped this week but there were no complications and he returned to practice the following day. He is expected to play in Pitt's opener against Notre Dame.

LOUISVILLE

Louisville No. 1?

The Associated Press released its first college football poll of the season last Saturday afternoon. While the top of the poll wasn't surprising -- USC was picked No. 1 with 60 out of 65 first-place votes - the most noteworthy aspect of the new poll was a lone first-place vote for the University of Louisville. Coming off an 11-1 season in 2004, the Cards are the media's pick to win the Big East in 2005.

Texas received the other four first-place votes. The vote is believed to be Louisville's first-ever first-place vote in a football preseason poll of any kind. The Cards are ranked No. 12 in the nation in the new AP poll, and have been ranked as low as 28 and as high as No. 4 in publications nationwide.

Cards shuffle Offensive Line

Despite working out at center for most of spring practice and much of the summer, senior offensive lineman Jason Spitz could be on the move before Louisville plays Kentucky in the Governor's Cup on Sept. 4. A 6-foot-4, 308-pound captain, Spitz may make the move back to guard, leaving the center spot in the hands of impressive redshirt freshman Eric Wood.

document.write(insertImage('https://ct.yimg.com/mr/uploads/923/205638.jpg', '205638.jpg', 0, 220, 150, 1, 'Senior Jason Spitz will likely move back to guard for the 2005 season.', 'Mark Lynch', 1124382976000, 'Spitz 150220', 923, 'Align=Left')); "Everybody up there has to play a couple of positions and understand what to do," offensive line coach Mike Summers said. "Spitz will still be playing center some, but he is really effective at guard. He and Travis are a pretty dominant pair, and so we are trying that out to make sure we have the right guys in the right spots."

SOUTH FLORIDA

USF picks up two impact transfers; Two Bulls lost to injuries

The Bulls received word this week that former LSU receiver Anthony Hill (Amp) will transfer to USF. Hill, who was ranked as the No. 8 receiver prospect in the country in 2003 by Rivals.com, transferred due to playing time. Hill had a somewhat arduous time at LSU, where he redshirted as a true freshman in 2003 after suffering a season-ending knee injury during fall camp. He will join USF with two-years of eligibility.

In addition to Hill, former NC State defensive end Maurice Charles, has joined USF. Charles was the Miami Herald's Dade County Player of the Year in 2003 and began workouts with the Bulls this week.

Two impact players were lost early in camp last week. Starting free safety Danny Verpaele broke his foot and will be out for the Penn State opener on Sept. 3. Second string defensive end Jariette Buie will be out for eight to 10 weeks after suffering a broken ankle.

CONNECTICUT

Tales from the Depth Chart

Redshirt junior Matt Bonislawski is expected to start at quarterback against Buffalo in the season opener on Sept. 1. Bonislawski has only thrown four completions on seven pass attempts for 22 yards in his career, but he is the only UConn quarterback with college experience.

Redshirt freshman D.J. Hernandez is also in the quarterback race.

Linebacker Julius Williams, who was battling for a starting spot but was expected to be No. 2 on the depth chart, will most likely miss the season with a knee injury.

SYRACUSE

Robinson names Starting Quarterback

Orange head coach Greg Robinson announced on Monday evening that junior quarterback Perry Patterson will start for SU on Sept. 4 against West Virginia. Robinson said the battle between Patterson and sophomore Joe Fields was extremely competitive.

"Perry is experienced, I think it helped him work through this. He's just more at ease right now in our system. Both Perry and Joe competed very well, Perry just felt very, very confident in what we're doing. This decision comes through spring ball and summer workouts, not that I could see them during the summer but I had feedback and knew how they were doing, I just kind of let it all fall into place over time," Robinson said.

RUTGERS

Starting Job a Gunfight at Rutgers

Incumbant quarterback Ryan Hart is starting to feel the heat. After sitting out only 18 snaps last year, Hart is being pushed this summer by redshirt freshman Mike Teel, who was sidelined in 2004 with a badly sprained ankle.

Hart began summer practice on solid footing as the starter, but if nothing else, Teel has made it clear that Hart will miss more than 18 snaps in 2005. In last Saturday's scrimmage, Teel was 9-13 for 150 yards and two touchdowns, while Hart was a similarly impressive 8-for-14 for 103 yards and one touchdown. But the more telling statistic was interceptions, where Hart registered two and Teel came away with zero.

Although Hart's accuracy will remain a hot issue as the summer progresses, question marks remain regarding Teel, whose results have come against the second-team defense. Observers expect Hart to get the majority of snaps in the team's opener against Illinois, but the follow-up against Villanova could be wide open.

WEST VIRGINIA

Fresh faces to see the Field this Season

A combination of good recruiting and a lack of experienced depth are forcing West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez to use more true freshmen this year than normal.
"We're inexperienced so that opens up everything but I also think we've recruited pretty well," Rodriguez said. "It would have been a lot harder for a lot of these guys to break into the lineup last year. That being said, we're still excited about some of them and quite a few of them are going to have a chance to play against Syracuse."
One of those true freshman, star running back Jason Gwaltney was held out of last Friday's practice with a minor ankle sprain sustained in a Wednesday scrimmage. Getting most of the reps in Gwaltney's place has been another freshman Steve Slaton.

CINCINNATI

Huggins resigns

Bob Huggins, the winningest basketball coach in University of Cincinnati history, is no longer the head coach of the Bearcats. It has been confirmed that Huggins, along with his attorney Richard Katz, have decided to take the 3 million dollar option and resign. Huggins has been asked to resign, effective immediately, a source close to the situation said Tuesday morning. Richard Katz has said it was a "mutual agreement" to terminate the rest of his contract."

The move comes two months after university president Nancy Zimpher declined to exercise the rollover option of Huggins' contract. The ensuing divide between Zimpher and Huggins fueled speculation that Huggins' 16-year run at UC might end abruptly.



 

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