TAMPA — Patience has been everything to University of South Florida linebacker Hans Louis.
Louis, a redshirt junior from Hollywood, has needed plenty of patience in his career with the Bulls. Apart from two games in the 2011 season, he has spent a lot of time not playing.
That changed under first-year head coach Willie Taggart, with Louis climbing onto the Bulls’ two-deep depth chart as the backup to middle linebacker DeDe Lattimore. Louis also plays on four special teams units.
“I always had faith in myself and I was always praying, keeping the faith and keeping fighting,” Louis said. “I never let anyone talk down on me and let it affect me. …I knew my opportunity was going to come and I knew I had to be prepared and I’m just making the best of it.”
Louis made the biggest play of his career Saturday against Michigan State on punt coverage, forcing and subsequently recovering a fumble. He also had opportunities to play defense when Lattimore had his helmet knocked off and needed to leave the game for a play.
Louis enjoys every opportunity he gets and has no regrets about spending so much time on the sideline prior to this year.
“I can’t make excuses for me not playing in the past,” he said. “I have to be a man and take responsibility for not playing. Maybe it was something I wasn’t doing right. I had to realize that and get better in the offseason.”
One of the loudest positive voices was back in action at the USF practice facility as DE Julius Forte returned to the field after knee surgery.
Forte missed the season opener, but made a big impact against the Spartans, forcing a fumble while recording a sack.
“It was an amazing feeling; I almost cried on the sideline,” Forte said. “It was just amazing being out there on that stage with my brothers again.”
In addition to producing on the field, Forte fancies himself an off-field morale leader.
“We grind, we grind, we grind, but a lot of times you lose the fun in the grind,” he said. “That’s what I try to bring when I come out here every day. I try to get everybody juiced up, might do a little dancing here and there, whatever it takes to get the guys going.”