Tag:South Florida
Posted on: March 30, 2010 12:25 pm
Edited on: March 30, 2010 12:40 pm
 

Former USF coach Jim Leavitt with Oklahoma?

Besides the dozens of NFL executives, head coaches and scouts on hand to watch Sam Bradford's Pro Day yesterday, there were several other surprising onlookers.

Former teammate Gerald McCoy (and his father) were on hand. So too was former OU star and current Baltimore Raven Mark Clayton. Each were there to lend support to Bradford and Oklahoma for obvious reasons.

Former South Florida head coach Jim Leavitt, however, was also in attendance and does not have a natural allegiance I was aware of.

Upon noticing him, casually dressed and chatting amicably with league personnel, I made a mental note to talk to him. Once Bradford began throwing, however, I lost track of Leavitt.

Until that is about an hour later when I saw him dressed in full Oklahoma regalia, jogging on campus. Oklahoma crimson t-shirt, shorts, the whole deal.

I only happened to see Leavitt running because I skipped out early from the press conference held by Bradford and Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops. Those media members who had been there only for Bradford's workout were long gone. Those that stayed for the press conference were inside Memorial Stadium listening to Bradford and Stoops.

If it has been announced that Leavitt has signed with Oklahoma in some capacity, I don't know of it. A simple internet search turned up nothing of a connection between Leavitt and the Sooners except for conjecture that Leavitt might be a coach of interest for the Sooners considering that he coached with Stoops and defensive coordinator Brett Venables at Kansas State. Leavitt is not currently listed among the Sooners' 13 football coaches according to SoonerSports.com. I contacted a handful of NFL personnel on hand for yesterday's workout to confirm that they, too, had seen Leavitt there. They had, but knew nothing of his connection with the Sooners.

Leavitt is currently in a legal battle with USF regarding his pay and whether his termination was "with" or "without" cause. Leavitt is suing USF and the USF Foundation for exoneration of inappropriate contact with a former player and the remainder of his 7 million dollar contract. Leavitt was accused of grabbing former walk-on Joel Miller by the throat and slapping him in the face. The school investigated and decided to fire Leavitt in January.





Posted on: February 23, 2010 1:18 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2010 1:49 pm
 

DE Derrick Morgan plans to work out in Indy

Georgia Tech defensive end Derrick Morgan is planning to work out at the Combine in his attempt to secure the title as the top-rated pass rusher of the 2010 draft.

I spoke to Derrick a bit ago in preparation for a future article. The defending ACC Defensive Player of the Year is eager to show off what he can do, especially after a not so-splashy final performance in the 24-14 loss to Iowa in the Orange Bowl. Morgan, who posted 55 tackles, 18.5 tackles for loss and a 12.5 sacks on the year, was limited to "only" three tackles and .5 tackles for loss against Iowa's stellar offensive line.

Morgan credited Hawkeye left tackle Bryan Bulaga as having a good game, but also was quick to point out that his lack of big numbers wasn't a big concern to either he or those close to the Tech program.

"My not having a monster game, individually, was not a big deal," Morgan said. "Our focus was to play good team defense, which doesn't always result in one player getting big numbers. I think we defended them well. We just came up short in that game."

South Florida defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul may pose the biggest challenge to Morgan as the top pass rusher of the draft. The 6-6, 265 pound Pierre-Paul has an explosive first step and very long arms, two qualities which scouts feel make him an ideal weak-side pass rusher. He is also expected to work out exceedingly well -- perhaps better than Morgan.

Where Morgan stands out is in his ability to hold up nicely against the run. Morgan locates the ball quickly and hustles to it, whereas Pierre-Paul, at least at this point, lacks the functional strength and instincts teams are looking for in an everydown defensive end.

Pierre-Paul may have more upside, but Morgan is the more polished player at this point -- which is why he ranks as the No. 1 defensive end on my board.



Posted on: October 16, 2009 3:02 pm
 

3 NFL-caliber throws by Pike intrigue scouts

In my preview to last night's South Florida-Cincinnati game I questioned Pike's downfield accuracy and whether he'd be successful against an athletic and experienced Bulls' secondary.

For the most part, South Florida held Pike in check. They even knocked him out of the game with a sprained left wrist in the 3rd quarter -- an injury that is expected to keep Pike out next week against Louisville and perhaps considerably longer.

Before the injury, however, Pike completed three legitimate NFL passes that were certain to impress NFL scouts.

The first one came on Pike's first touchdown. On the first play after a momentum-swinging interception, Pike fired a quick out to wideout Armon Binns for a three yard touchdown. The pass, thrown with good velocity, was perfectly placed, forcing Binns to make a finger-tip reception as he ran out of the side of the endzone, away from the defender.

Later in the second quarter Pike fired another impressive touchdown pass to Binns -- this time on a short drag route over the middle for an 8-yard score. Again, the pass was thrown with good velocity and perfect accuracy. Binns had to make a finger-tip catch to score on the play and he did so.

The most impressive play of the night for Pike, however, came in between these two plays and at the opposite end of the field. Pike, in fact, released the ball only a few yards out of his own endzone. One play after being sacked by George Selvie, Pike, showing surprising mobility for a 6-6 quarterback, stepped out of another Selvie tackle, rolled left, squared his shoulders and fired a 25-yard strike to DJ Woods on the far (left) sideline. The pass required legitimate NFL arm-strong and very good accuracy. It was a great catch for Woods, as well, as he secured the ball and dragged both feet to beat double-coverage by the Bulls.

According to the announcers of this contest there were upwards of 25 NFL scouts, including at least 5 personnel directors at this game. While much of Pike's production throughout this game came on the dink and dunk receiver screens and outlet tosses to backs and tight ends, these three throws left scouts in attendance impressed.


 
 
 
 
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