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Bulls HC Strong on job security- “I’m not concerned”

Abbey Radeka

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Charlie Strong has been receiving heavy criticism since his team went on a six game losing streak to conclude the 2018 season. Since then, he’s managed to only win an easy rout of South Carolina State in the past 10 games the Bulls have played in.

Saturday was supposed to be a day where Strong demonstrated, off a bye week, that his team could rebound and would take advantage of a fresh start to the season, as conference play began.

Unfortunately for Strong and the Bulls, just like their season-opening wipeout loss at home to Wisconsin, his team was blown away, again, this time 48-21 by the SMU Mustangs.

However, the third year head coach doesn’t seem to believe he’s at the point where he’s coaching for his job, yet.

In his Monday press conference, Strong was asked how critical is this next game is, not only for the morale of the team, but for Charlie and his staff, he said that they are “not concerned.”

“We gotta go play well and that’s for every game. And for myself and the staff, we’re not concerned. We know what we gotta get done, but we know that it’s a conference game. We gotta go play well in this game. Cant worry about what anyone else thinks, we know what we gotta go get done and just get our team ready to play.”

SMU absolutely routed the Bulls defense with five first-half touchdowns, including three TD passes by Strong’s former quarterback at Texas, Shane Buechele, as the Ponies built a 34 – 0 lead.

When Buechele, who sat last year as a transfer and SMU got the ball for the first time in the third quarter, they marched a quick 50 yards for another score. It was 41 – zip and SMU had emptied out Raymond James Stadium.

Yes, they had to play the last quarter and a half and the Bulls (now 1-3) inserted veteran backup Blake Barnett, because freshman starter Jordan McCloud had an injured wrist. And, Barnett got the team in the end zone during “garbage time” with three touchdowns.

But, make no mistake, USF was awful most of Saturday.

And now, the larger questions that will keep coming are: has Strong essentially given up coaching and motivating his team? And if not, how are they this bad all of a sudden?

Remember that they won 10 games and a bowl game in Strong’s first season. That was with former coach Willie Taggart’s players.

The struggles now, date back to a 7 – 0 start a year ago, where USF then lost the last five games in the regular season and next, their bowl game.

That was eyebrow-raising enough, but when the Bulls opened with the Big Ten powerhouse Badgers and were destroyed 49 – 0 to start the year, whispers became loud voices that Strong wasn’t cut out to turn things around.

It is no secret that Strong has complained for two years about everything from how USF travels, to not having an indoor practice facility, to not having an on-campus football stadium and having to play at the 65,000 seat Raymond James Stadium. That’s where at least half of the seats are empty for most of their games.

As for why the Bulls are averaging just over 80 yards in penalties a game? Strong explained that rather than it being a discipline issue, it’s that the refs in the American are quicker to throw flags.

“I don’t ever wanna blame the officiating but a lot of those guys are trying to move up so we get thrown a lot of flags in this conference and it’s what we gotta take a look at.”

It’s also no secret that this is the first year where USF is completely on the hook to pay Strong and that he had to take a pay cut from the $4 million plus per year that Texas was still paying him the first two years of his USF deal.

The Bulls followed up the awful debut with Wisconsin by losing to a bad Georgia Tech Team in Atlanta in game two. Then, the freshman McCloud gave some spark and optimism with how he played two weeks ago against FCS, Savannah State.

However, off the off week, the Bulls had no answers on offense in the first half of this game with SMU, while being held scoreless.

Yes, the Ponies are a great story, as they improved to 5 – 0 for the first time since Eric Dickerson and the “Pony Express” backfield of 1983.

But, the larger story is how big of a problem does USF now have with a coach that either isn’t interested, or in some combination, doesn’t know how to, get their season turned around in his third year?

And unlike Strong, we at F.F.I. believe the clock is ticking, and every game from here on out is a career make or break, if it already isn’t broken past repair in Tampa.

Abbey is a native Floridan who grew up a fan of all Tampa Bay sports teams. She’s recently graduated from Florida State University with a degree in Media Communication Studies. In her time at FSU, she was an In-Game Host for the Basketball and Baseball teams, and reported for Seminole Sports Magazine, producing feature stories that appeared on Fox Sports Sun. She’s excited to share her perspective on all of Florida’s Football teams, especially the Seminoles.

USF Bulls

Report- Alabama will hire Charlie Strong as consultant

Florida Football Insiders

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Former USF coach Charlie Strong has decided on a new role for the upcoming 2020 season, and it won’t be in Gainesville.

ESPN college football insider Chris Low reported Tuesday morning that Strong has agreed to join Nick Saban’s staff at Alabama as a defensive “consultant” for this season

As we wrote last week, Strong had visited Saban and the Tide about the possible position on his staff, while considering a similar opportunity to join either Dan Mullen’s Gators staff or a couple of others in a consulting role. None of this will affect the nearly $3 million that USF still owes him as the buyout on the final two years of his contract.

Strong was fired after the Bulls collapsed losing their final four games to finish 4 – 8 this season. They were beaten by 27 or more points five times this year, including the last two losses to Memphis and rival UCF. This combined with the Bulls having lost their final six games, including their bowl game last year, meant that Strong had lost 14 of his final 18 games.

USF hired Clemson Co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott earlier about a week later and gave him a 5-year, $12 million deal to become a first-time head coach in FBS football.

There had been some debate about Strong’s buyout being the amount of compensation that was remaining on his original five-year contract that he signed when he took the job in December of 2016 after being fired by the University of Texas. That contract called for Strong to be paid to $2. 5 million on average for 2020 and 2021.

However, USF informed Strong in his termination letter that the amount would be approximately $3 million under clauses in his deal.

Saban has a history of taking in former head coaches to come to Bama and observe and assist as a consultant with either his offense or defense. He’s done this for the last two years with former Tennessee coach Butch Jones and obviously, took in both Lane Kiffin and Steve Sarkisian both of whom had been fired as coaches by USC at different stages.

Strong is known is an outstanding defensive coach from his previous days, as the Gators defensive coordinator under Urban Meyer. He later went on to success at the University of Louisville before taking The the Texas head coaching job in 2014.

Strong was fired after three seasons in Austin in 2016, but immediately hired by USF to replace Willie Taggart.

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USF Bulls

Former USF coach Strong to be consultant for Alabama?

Florida Football Insiders

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Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

And intriguing item popped up Friday morning involving former USF head coach Charlie Strong and him visiting Nick Saban the Alabama football program.

According to Alabama Insider and radio host, Aaron Suttles, Strong, who was dismissed last December after his third season with the Bulls, was in Tuscaloosa Thursday meeting with Saban and his staff:

Strong had also been reportedly talking with the University of Florida about a possible consultant role, which likely would not affect the nearly $3 million that USF still owes him as the buyout on the final two years of his contract.

Strong was fired after the Bulls collapsed losing their final four games to finish 4 – 8 this season. They were beaten by 27 or more points five times this year, including the last two losses to Memphis and rival UCF. This combined with the Bulls having lost their final six games, including their bowl game last year, meant that Strong had lost 14 of his final 18 games.

USF hired Clemson Co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott earlier about a week later and gave him a 5-year, $12 million deal to become a first-time head coach in FBS football.

There had been some debate about Strong’s buyout being the amount of compensation that was remaining on his original five-year contract that he signed when he took the job in December of 2016 after being fired by the University of Texas. That contract called for Strong to be paid to $2. 5 million on average for 2020 and 2021.

However, USF informed Strong in his termination letter that the amount would be approximately $3 million under clauses in his deal.

Saban has a history of taking in former head coaches to come to Bama and observe and assist as a consultant with either his offense or defense. He’s done this for the last two years with former Tennessee coach Butch Jones and obviously, took in both Lane Kiffin and Steve Sarkisian both of whom had been fired as coaches by USC at different stages.

Strong is known is an outstanding defensive coach from his previous days, as the Gators defensive coordinator under Urban Meyer. He later went on to success at the University of Louisville before taking The the Texas head coaching job in 2014.

Strong was fired after three seasons in Austin in 2016, but immediately hired by USF to replace Willie Taggart

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