By TOM ZEBOLD
USF Senior Writer
TAMPA - USF is confident it can keep its running attack rolling along without the back that's revved it up in past weeks.
The banged-up Bulls are forced to go without Lindsey Lamar for Saturday's game against UConn and beyond after he broke his clavicle while having a career day against Syracuse. Lamar rushed for a personal best 145 yards before leaving the game early in the fourth quarter. The injury came a week after Lamar rushed for 110 yards against Louisville.
"We have guys behind us that are capable to be starters on this team," senior back Demetris Murray said.
The plan is to give Murray his normal workload while working Marcus Shaw back into an increased role.
"We'll try to balance it between those two there and have Bradley Battles ready to go," running back coach Larry Scott said.
Shaw was supposed to get a lot of touches from the start of the season on, but an injury kept the junior out of two games. Despite the speed bump, Shaw has been effective when he's had the chance, totaling 108 yards on 18 carries (6.0 yards per carry).
"He's worked just as hard as any of those guys and he's back to being 100 percent healthy," Scott said.
USF's third option will be Battles, who has one rushing attempt in the four games he's played in this season. The redshirt junior doesn't lack experience, however, with 15 games on his college resume since the 2010 season.
"He's been in the system, knows the offense and he's worked hard. If we have to get to that, he'll be ready to go," Scott said.
Murray, who is close friends with Lamar, did have an encouraging approach towards his teammate's injury on Tuesday, just hours after the two spent some time together talking through things early in the morning hours.
"He's high spirited. He's a mentally tough guy," Murray said. "He's ready to hit this thing head on with rehab and get ready for pro day."
Lamar has been a huge plus to a USF rushing attack that has thrived in the past two weeks, averaging 283 yards even with younger players stepping into big roles on the offensive line.
"I think we have a little groove going," offensive coordinator Todd Fitch said.
Thor Comfortable in the Spotlight
Thor Jozwiak has been waiting for his chance to produce and did in a big way Saturday against Syracuse. The redshirt freshman made his first start at left guard and helped paved the way for USF rushers to rack up an eye-popping 369 yards on the ground.
"I just went in there with the same attitude I have every game, knowing I'm going to play," he said. "Running out of that tunnel knowing you're the guy is something really special. I felt like I did a pretty good job."
Tuesday was one of Jozwiak's first chances to talk in front of a large group of reporters and the rising star was comfortable enough to provide a little humor. When asked about his first name, Jozwiak went down memory lane and explained how his father, Brian, got the idea from the famous comic book superhero. Brian Jozwiak was an All-American lineman for West Virginia back in the 1980s.
"My grandmother, his mom, said that he couldn't find a woman that would let her son be named Thor. Well, he sure did," Jozwiak said with a smile. "(Mom) was all for it.
When asked if he ever dressed up as Thor for Halloween, Jozwiak replied: "I'd just go as myself."