TAMPA, Fla. -- Nearly three months after watching South Florida lose to Oregon 56-21 in the Sun Bowl, Bulls coach Jim Leavitt still can't get the bad taste out of his mouth.
Spring break couldn't have come at a better time for West Virginia.
The Mountaineers are getting this week off, and won't return to spring practice until March 31.
The long break should give senior quarterback Pat White
enough time to recover from a strained muscle in his back. With White sidelined from practice last week, redshirt freshmen Charlie Russell
and Bradley Starks
took snaps with the first-team offense.
Top backup Jarrett Brown
is playing on West Virginia's basketball team, which advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament.
Oddly enough, White nearly missed spring practice to play on the school's baseball team. New coach Bill Stewart said he encouraged White to play baseball this spring. White was a fourth-round draft choice of the Anaheim Angels in the 2004 amateur baseball draft.
"I want to see Pat White out there in pinstripes, and I'm not talking about Yankee pinstripes," Stewart said, before the Mountaineers started spring football practice.
Mountaineers kicker Pat McAfee joined the school's soccer team this spring, but quit after training for the sport for two months. McAfee felt he could enhance his chances in the NFL draft by concentrating on football this spring.
Name That Coach
Rutgers coach Greg Schiano might have handed out name tags to his coaching staff when spring practice began on March 11. The Scarlet Knights have five new assistants after finishing 8-5 in 2007.
The staff shake-up came after special-teams coach Darren Rizzi was named head coach at Division I-AA Rhode Island. Running backs coach Craig Ver Steeg took a job with the Baltimore Ravens, and defensive line coach Cary Godette and receivers coach Robert Jackson retired.
Secondary coach Chris Demarest also resigned. Demarest recently underwent anger management counseling and criminal charges were dropped from a July 2007 arrest for assault.
Schiano hired former Penn State and NFL tailback Gary Brown (running backs), Delaware offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca (wide receivers), San Jose assistant Gary Emanuel (defensive line), Colgate defensive coordinator Ed Pinkham (secondary) and former Ole Miss assistant Chris Rippon (special teams).
"There are many changes, which is going to present additional challenges, but ones that I am looking forward to," Schiano said. "I think we have an opportunity with some fresh ideas and fresh faces to move ahead."
Clause And Effect
Ohio State exercised a clause in its series contract with Cincinnati, which enabled the Buckeyes to move the schools' scheduled game in 2012 from Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati to Ohio Stadium in Columbus. Ohio State paid Cincinnati $1 million to move the game. The teams play at Ohio State again in 2014.
Cincinnati officials plan to use the money to build a practice bubble and new practice fields, perks that were promised in Bearcats coach Brian Kelly's extended contract with the school. In fact, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported Kelly's new contract pays him $1.2 million per season -- more than four times what athletic director Michael Thomas earns ($290,000 per year) and more than twice as much as university president Nancy Zimpher's annual compensation ($410,577).
Ohio State has played in Cincinnati only once since 1911, but Kelly said he still hopes to eventually play the Buckeyes every season.
• Connecticut lost three receivers to injuries during the first week of spring practice: D.J. Hernandez
(ankle), Ellis Gaulden
(foot) and Brad Kanuch
(quadriceps). Hernandez and Gaulden are expected to be sidelined for most of the spring.
• Pittsburgh quarterback Pat Bostick
, who played in 10 games as a freshman in 2007, lost about 18 pounds during the offseason. The starting job is Bostick's to lose when the Panthers open spring practice, but he'll be challenged by Bill Stull
and juco transfer Greg Cross. Stull injured his thumb in the first game last season, and coach Dave Wannstedt wants to find multiple ways to use Cross, who is a running threat.
• A few heralded Big East running backs are being held out of spring practice while they recover from injuries. Syracuse running backs Delone Carter
(dislocated hip) and Curtis Brinkley
(broken leg) are being held out of contact. Rutgers' Kordell Young
, who is in line to replace star Ray Rice, is sidelined after having knee surgery.