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Wednesday, November 28, 2012
USF preps for unconventional senior day

By Matt Fortuna

A season that began with high expectations will come to an early end one way or another Saturday for South Florida, which has been plagued by injuries and close losses.

Pick an upperclassmen starter -- any upperclassmen starter -- and odds are that he has missed plenty of time or won't be playing this weekend against Pitt.

B.J. Daniels? Out with a broken ankle.

Lindsey Lamar? Out with a chest injury.

Sterling Griffin? Bobby Eveld? Evan Landi? All have missed games or will not play this weekend.

So yes, it's a different kind of senior day for the Bulls, who have sought new faces in new places to rise to the occasion during this rough 3-8 campaign.

"When you look at the guys there, they're great young men and there's a huge amount of respect for them because of the leadership they have provided," coach Skip Holtz said. "So, even though a guy like Even Landi hasn't been able to play or Lindsey Lamar or B.J. Daniels, they're at practice every day, they're vocal, they're into it, and that's why I said they have really done a great job of keeping the attitude and the morale on this team really high."

Matt Floyd will get his second straight start under center after Daniels and Eveld went down in front of him. He completed 21 of 39 passes for 176 yards in last week's loss at Cincinnati, one week after stepping in for Eveld and going 20 of 35 for 175 yards with two interceptions.

"I think there's a lot to build off for him, and when you're playing young players you have to take the positives and build off that," Holtz said. "You don't start at the top and work down -- you work at the bottom and what do we have to build off it.

"I thought as the game went on he got more and more comfortable."

For many of the upperclassmen, Saturday will be about salvaging a lost season and spoiling the Panthers' chance at becoming bowl-eligible.

"We're playing for each other," senior linebacker Sam Barrington said. "We love each other. We don't have any quitters on this team. Guys are going to continue to want to get better and focus week in and week out."