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Jeune could be next special teams ace

Posted Sep 6, 2011 by Adam Adkins

Updated Sep 6, 2011 at 09:19 PM

Here is Tuesday’s practice report from correspondent Michael Manganello:

Armando Sanchez made his name last year for excelling on special teams. After one game this season, a new special teams superstar is emerging.

Junior linebacker Mike Jeune, who is in his first season with USF after transferring from Independence Community College, drew praise from special teams coach Vernon Hargreaves after recording three tackles—including a few big hits—on kickoff coverage against Notre Dame.

“Mike Jeune certainly made his presence felt on a couple of occasions,” Hargreaves said. “He had a great tackle on the last kickoff and some things like that, so hopefully he’s another guy that can come to the party.”

Hargreaves also predicted that redshirt freshman linebacker Reshard Cliett’s speed and athleticism could make him a factor on special teams.

“I think a guy like Reshard Cliett, who can really run, once we get him really dialed in and focused in on where he needs to be, I think he’s going to be another guy (that can contribute),” Hargreaves said.

SPECIAL GUEST: Father David Toups from Christ the King Catholic Church in South Tampa was invited by Holtz and joined the team for its trip to Notre Dame, perhaps the famous Catholic school in the world.

“I told him that I was bringing our priest to level the playing field with Catholicism,” Holtz said. 

Along with Father Toups, Holtz recreated a tradition from his time at Notre Dame, when the team would receive a medal to commemorate each game. He gave the team medals Friday afternoon during the team walkthrough depicting St. Sebastian, “the patron saint of athletes and the ‘Never say die’ attitude that he had,” according to Holtz.

RANKING TALK: Following the 23-20 win over No. 16 Notre Dame, USF has made its 2011 debut in the Associated Press Top 25, landing at No. 22. They fell just short of a spot in the coaches poll, earning the 27th most points.

USF head coach Skip Holtz said he isn’t concerned with the rankings this early in the season.

“At the end of the year we’ll talk about the rankings and all that because that’s the only time it really matters,” Holtz said. “Until then, all this does is helps you get a big head and lose your focus to what you’re trying to turn and get done and fall out of it.”

Junior linebacker Sam Barrington said breaking into the rankings is nice, but there’s still work to do.

“I feel like it’s a step towards our goal, so that’s always a positive matter, but we just want to keep going and do what it takes to get higher in that ranking,” Barrington said.

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