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Landi, not Marc, to handle punt return duties Thursday
Posted Nov 29, 2011 by Adam Adkins
Updated Nov 29, 2011 at 01:39 PM
USF will sacrifice return yards for ball security in its final regular season game Thursday against West Virginia, as coach Skip Holtz said tight end Evan Landi will handle the punt return duties in place of receiver Victor Marc.
Marc has had costly fumbles as a punt returner in two closes losses this season, at Rutgers and Friday against Louisville. He also lost a fumble in a win at Syracuse while trying to score after making a catch.
After Marc’s miscue in the 34-24 loss to the Cardinals, both Landi and Marc were back to return punts the rest of the game, but it is Landi’s job against the Mountaineers.
“At this point I want to secure the ball,” Holtz said. “We’ve had a number of other people that have caught it in practice. We’ve talked about Andre Davis and Deonte Welch and some of those guys. Derrick Hopkins has been back there catching them. But the guy that is still the most consistent with the ball under his arm, or the guy who secures the ball is Evan Landi.
“I’ve even got back to where we’re on the 10-yard line decisions, when we were having to make 10-yard line decisions with heels on the 10, Evan’s been the guy that’s gone in and done that for us. So right now I would be hesitant to put anybody else back there that may risk putting the ball on the ground. The biggest thing that I want is to make sure we can secure it.”
Marc was a threat once he got the ball in his hands, posting the longest punt return of the season for the Bulls (40 yards) and averaging 7.2 yards on 13 attempts. However, in an effort to avoid a costly turnover against the Mountaineers as the Bulls try to secure bowl eligibility, Holtz will go with a player who has 13 yards on five returns and one he jokingly referred to earlier this season as “Fair Catch” Landi.
“It’s a shame because right now with some of the young quarterback and receivers and some of that we could really utilize the field position of having a dangerous punt returner right now,” Holtz said. “I just don’t feel like we have one that we can put out there that can catch the ball consistently enough and move us forward.”