USF coach Skip Holtz announced the four team captains for the 2011 season following Wednesday's practice, and the group selected by a vote of the players includes a first during his tenure as a head coach.
Junior QB B.J. Daniels is the first non-senior captain for a Holtz-led team, and he's joined in the leadership role by seniors CB Quenton Washington, S Jerrell Young and C Chaz Hine.
"It's exciting. It's a testament to all the work that I put in all summer, trying to lead by example," Daniels said. "I've been working hard, not trying to be a captain, but trying to be a leader and do things the right way."
It was the first time Holtz ever placed a non-senior on the captain ballot, choosing to include underclassmen on the team's leadership council, also selected by the players, along with the seniors on the roster. Though the four were selected by a majority vote, Holtz said there are plenty of other leaders in the locker room.
"I think they've selected four great captains, but I think there were about 12 guys who got an awful lot of votes," Holtz said. "You can tell there's some real defined leaders on this team when you opened it to some of the underclassmen and the respect this team has for guys like Sam Barrington, Ryne Giddins, (Evan) Landi, some of the underclassmen on this football team that they have great respect for."
Young and Washington agreed.
"I still feel like everybody on our team is a captain," Washington said. "Everybody still steps up to be a leader."
Holtz will choose a special teams captain each week, and though limited to sending only four out for the pregame coin toss, the coach may rotate that player in on occasion.
"I may have to put one on ice every week," he said with a smile, "put him in the bullpen."
Holtz isn't asking his team to ignore the atmosphere at tradition-rich Notre Dame, but he's made sure the Bulls' focus needs to be solely between the lines.
"I'm not trying to blindfold them," he said. "But I want our focus on what happens when we put that ball on the tee and what number guy do I block and what number is he wearing, not the statues all over campus or the tradition or the history and all that.
"We're not going to get off the bus with a camera around our neck. This is a business trip. This is not a tourist attraction that we're going to this weekend."
Reserve RB Bradley Battles will serve a two-game suspension to start the season for violating team rules in the spring, and reserve DT Todd Chandler was ruled academically ineligible for the fall semester, Holtz said Wednesday. … Count former Gators coach Urban Meyer among those expecting big things from the Bulls this season. Meyer was one of four ESPN college football analysts to pick USF to win the Big East, with Desmond Howard, Kirk Herbstreit and Chris Spielman the others. … Holtz wore a microphone during the first part of practice for a segment scheduled to air Saturday on ESPN's "College GameDay."