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Ex-USF star QB BJ Daniels wants XFL shot

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Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

A decade ago, B.J. Daniels was a hero in Green and Gold quarterbacking for the USF Bulls at Raymond James Stadium. On Saturday, he was back as one of numerous players chasing another chance to play pro football in the upcoming XFL relaunch.

Daniels was out there with over a hundred players of all positions, backgrounds and story lines trying to impress XFL league and team representatives at their “summer showcase” event being held in Tampa:

In particular, Tampa Bay’s inaugural coach and “quarterback guru,” Marc Trestman was taking a strong look at what Daniels might be able to do for their first season starting next spring. Trestman has formerly been the Bears head coach and coach of the “Grey Cup” winning Montreal Allouettes of the CFL. However, he’s mostly known for his work, as a QB coach and offensive coordinator in the NFL over the past three decades.

A former star at Tallahassee’s Lincoln high school, Daniels quarterbacked at USF between 2009-12 and led the Bulls to a lot of success over those four seasons. He left Tampa with the second most passing yards at that time, and the most rushing yards by any QB in program history. Also throw in, the historic wins at Florida State in 2009 and at Notre Dame in the opening game of the 2011 season, and there are plenty of memories for Bulls fans.

Daniels was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in 2013 but they released him late in his rookie year, but he was picked up (above) by the Seattle Seahawks. Daniels was on their roster during the playoff run that season, when the Seahawks eventually won the Super Bowl over the Denver Broncos. Daniels then bounced on and off several other NFL rosters as teams tried him at receiver and running back, as well as quarterback. He actually did play a few series in the Texans finale’ game of 2017 at quarterback.

After trying out for the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the CFL last summer where he was released before playing in regular season games, Daniels eventually ended up in the other Spring league that launched this past January. The AAF’s Salt Lake City Stallions ended up taking Daniels, as part of the leagues separate quarterback only draft. However, Daniels was injured again, before playing in a game and placed on injured reserve for the season.

Yet, Saturday he was out there in the Tampa Bay heat firing passes in front of the likes of XFL Commissioner and former NFL quarterback Oliver Luck, as well. So too were other names like former NFL and Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett, who desperately wants another chance in the upcoming spring League next February.

And, while the decision will ultimately come down to football skill, and the ability of Daniels to be healthy, it’s most likely the soon to be 30 year old Daniels will get a shot with the Tampa Bay franchise. This, if for no other reason than, thousands of local USF fans will be inclined to come to the stadium or at least watch on TV, if he’s under center at least some of the time.

And that’s something that Luck, owner of the XFL Vince McMahon and the league itself, will need a lot of next February.

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    JCR

    July 5, 2019 at 7:05 am

    Does anybody ever proofread these articles before posting? I have to wonder if Mr. Daniels wrote this himself while suffering from a concussion.

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USF Bulls

New Bulls coach Scott eagerly embracing new challenge

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Fresh off a runner-up finish in Monday night’s College Football Playoff National Championship Game loss to LSU, former Clemson co-offensive coordinator, and new USF head coach, Jeff Scott is now going full throttle in his first few days back in Tampa with his new program.

Scott posted on social media Friday morning that one of his top priorities is to reconnect with all of the jigh school coaches in and around the Tampa area:

This is not unfamiliar for the first-time head coach, as this was part of his role was procuring players for Dabo Swinney’s Tigers out of West Central Florida.

Scott also gave access to the Tampa Bay Times and beat writer Joey Knight on his inaugural meeting with his new team Thursday at the USF facility.

And, Scott began by prioritizing his team in the meeting room having the seniors sit in the front with the juniors behind and then, the underclassmen behind them.

It will be a challenge over the next season or two for Scott to revitalize a program that essentially went “off the cliff in the middle of the 2018 season.” That’s when the Bulls under Charlie Strong lost their remaining six games, including their bowl game and then, were blown out twice early in the 2019 season to drop to 1-3.

USF regained their footing in the middle of the year wining against lesser American Athletic Conference competition in a couple of games, but promptly lost out, including their final 4 games to finish 4-8. That resulted in Strong’s firing.

The 39 year old Scott had Clemson through and through, as he played for the Tigers in the early 2000s for three years and returned to become an assistant coach for the Tigers in 2008. Since then, he has been a receiver’s coach, recruiting coordinator, and then, co-offensive coordinator for the last three years.

The Tigers, behind All-American QB Trevor Lawrence,  rolled through a second straight unbeaten season and then, a 62-17 blowout win over Virginia in the ACC Title Game. In a bid to repeat as National Champs, the Tigers defeated Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl on December 28th in one of the College Football playoff semi-finals.

Alas, the “fairy tale” did end well, as LSU behind Heisman winning QB Joe Burrow, defeated them 42-25 Monday night in New Orleans.

There’s some more that USF fans can be excited about and Scott’s successes with wide receivers. He has helped develop some great NFL prospects like DeAndre Hopkins, Sammy Watkins, and Mike Williams. His  current Clemson group likely has at least two more NFL wideouts, too.

After years of the inconsistent offense, it appears that the Bulls leaders felt a change in philosphy was needed.

And Scott, the son of former FSU and Clemson offensive coordinator Brad Scott, appears to be the guy to change it all.

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USF Bulls

Coordinator musical chairs all related to Willie Taggart

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Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports

Now that head coaching hires have been made at the prominent jobs in the state and around college football, the musical chairs of assistants and specifically coordinators is also fascinating. And in the case of FSU, USF and FAU they are all interrelated to former USF and FSU-now FAU, boss, Willie Taggart.

In Boca Raton, the new FAU coach has announced his first coordinator hire and it’s none other than his former defensive consultant at Florida State, his former defensive coordinator at Oregon and the former USF head coach, Jim Leavitt:

Taggart had brought Leavitt on board, as the season began to unfold in Tallahassee, initially, to consult, but eventually as a defensive coach on the field.

The tandem came together in Eugene, Oregon three years ago, when Taggart left USF and was hired by the Ducks. He then brought Leavitt with him from being the defensive coordinator at Colorado.

However, Leavitt did not follow Taggart to Florida State in 2018, as had been reported that he would. He stayed behind for one more season, in Eugene.

Meanwhile, Taggart had a disastrous 5-7 first season with FSU after having hired former Michigan State defensive coordinator Harlon Barnett to run his defense. Meanwhile, Leavitt was fired after the 2018 season by Oregon coach Mario Cristobal and then, was available to come join Taggart this year.

However it was to no avail , as Taggart was fired himself, on November 3rd after just nine games into his second season.

Continuing, Taggart had hired Kendal Briles to run his offense in 2019 from Houston, but Briles had previously been at, wait for it… Florida Atlantic as the OC. And now, there’s word of where Briles is headed, and, that’s to the University of Arkansas, as their new offensive coordinator.

The Hogs made a surprising coaching hire of former Georgia offensive line coach, Stan Pittman, who has never been a head coach at the college level before. Desperate to improve in the SEC West, Briles up tempo offense did help the Florida State in terms of increases of  yardage per game and points per game output this past season.

Meanwhile, back at USF, new coach Jeff Scott had already announced on Sunday that former FAU defensive coordinator and head coach for their bowl game, Glenn Spencer, is his new defensive coordinator in Tampa.

Spencer has extensive experience, especially as a defensive assistant and coordinator for over a decade at Oklahoma State.

Staying with the “musical chairs” connected to his current and former jobs:

On Monday evening Scott also announced that Charlie Weis Jr., the son of the former Notre Dame coach and Patriots offensive coordinator, would be joining his staff with the Bulls.

Weis had most recently been the offensive coordinator for…..you guessed it again, the last two years at Florida Atlantic taking over for Briles with Lane Kiffin. But, Kiffin did not take Weis with him, when he left FAU for Ole Miss two weeks ago. And, Taggart did not retain Weis.

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At 27 years of age Weis is still the youngest coordinator in FBS football.

So, to recap: Taggart and Leavitt are back together for the third time in four seasons in the third different location.

Spencer and Weis, who were the coordinators at Florida Atlantic for Kiffin, weren’t kept by Taggart, but are now are now both at USF, where Taggart and Leavitt used to be head coaches.

And Briles, who coached for Taggart and for part of the year with Leavitt in Tallahassee is now on his way to the SEC with the Hogs.

It’s never dull with a coaching carousel.

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