By TOM ZEBOLD
USF Senior Writer
TAMPA - Head coach Skip Holtz often says it's not just about playing hard, it's about playing smart and the Bulls used the approach Wednesday by practicing in shorts.
USF is eight games through the season and injuries have mounted quite a bit, so Holtz decided to limit the wear and tear during a spirited session on the turf three days before what should be a physical battle with UConn.
"When you get late in the season, it's time to start to pull off. You don't want to bang them as much out on the practice field," Holtz said. "We have to make sure we get into the game fresh."
Saturday's game is fans' last chance to see the Bulls at home for a while. USF has a bye week before playing at Miami on Nov. 17 and at Cincinnati on Nov. 23. The Bulls finish up their regular season at Raymond James Stadium Dec. 1 against Pittsburgh.
Shaw Ready to Go
Marcus Shaw is back in the spotlight and he's using another USF back as inspiration.
Shaw's carries will increase Saturday now that Lindsey Lamar has been sidelined with a broken collarbone. Lamar's workload increased earlier this season after Shaw went down with an ankle injury and Shaw wants to produce like his "favorite player on the team" did.
"I have to step up and do what I need to do to help this team win," Shaw said. "I'm ready and have been ready for a long time."
Holtz said it took Shaw four to five weeks to get back to 100 percent after his injury in the season opener. The junior has looked good in a limited role since coming back and is averaging 6 yards per carry on 18 attempts.
"He's exciting when the ball gets under his arm. I'm just hoping that he can stay healthy right now," Holtz said.
Webster Racking Up Tackles
Kayvon Webster's name has been called quite a bit lately.
The senior cornerback tied a career high with 12 tackles against Syracuse and he's led the Bulls in tackles in three of the past four games.
"I think he has had an excellent year. It's been really strong from a tackle standpoint," Holtz said.
Webster already has set a new single-season career high with 55 tackles that rank him second on the team. His previous season high was 47 total tackles last year.
Lee Gains Valuable Experience
Injuries at the defensive end position paved the way for Eric Lee to make his first start last Saturday and the true freshman did enough to impress his head coach. The 6-foot-3, 240-pounder from Daphne, Ala., posted six total tackles and gave the Bulls an aggressive performance while Tevin Mims was out.
"He made some mistakes, but he made them a million miles an hour. He flew around and he made some plays. I think he's a bright spot right now," Holtz said.
Lee has now played in seven games and was grateful for an opportunity to get increased snaps so early in his career.
"Not everybody gets to play D-I football, especially start, so it was an honor and I was appreciative," he said.