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Bulls get back to business

Posted Oct 4, 2011 by Adam Adkins

Updated Oct 4, 2011 at 10:12 PM

Here are Tuesday’s practice notes from correspondent Michael Manganello:

As the University of South Florida football team returned to the practice field Tuesday for the first time since losing 44-17 on the road to Pittsburgh last Thursday, coach Skip Holtz noticed that the team was quieter and less energetic during stretches than usual.

“It was quiet but the attitude was great,” Holtz said. “They worked extremely hard. They had a very business-like approach today. I think everybody is kind of hurting from the performance with what we put out on the field Thursday.”

With his team in a bit of a funk, Holtz called the group together and reminded them to be professionals and put the loss behind them, a message that took root in the squad.

“I thought they did a good job today,” Holtz said. “It was a physical practice today but I want them to understand that they weren’t out here today — we’re not punishing them, we did come out here and say, ‘It’s an open date and we lost so we’re just going to pound on each other’. We came out here because we’re not good enough yet and the only way you get better is to go play (as a) team.”

The emphasis was on full 11-on-11 work, with the Bulls running about 175 plays in their first of three practices this week.

Junior linebacker Sam Barrington said the team was focused and ready to get back to work after having four days off following the Pittsburgh game.

“Everybody was just focused,” he said. “That’s the most important thing because when you’re focused, you tend to put yourself in a better position to fix some of the things you messed up on. Coach Holtz noted that it was kind of quiet, but, hey, we were focused and that’s one thing we like to be in practice.”

FROM GAP TO GAP: Pittsburgh running back Ray Graham had a big night against the Bulls, rushing for 226 yards and two touchdowns, due in part to a lack of assignment integrity along USF’s defensive line.

With an open date this weekend, Holtz says that sticking to assignments is his team’s primary objective this week.

“Defensive football is not just running to the ball,” he said. “Especially with the way Pitt plays…they make you play assignment football and we did not do that very well. It’s very uncharacteristic.”

Defensive tackle Cory Grissom, who drew praise from Holtz for his performance, said stopping Graham was a challenge.

“We were running our supposed gap and then another gap would just form,” he said. “We would try to close that up but (Graham) would bounce it to another gap.”

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