With the news that USF is now looking for a new offensive coordinator after Sterlin Gilbert left Wednesday to become McNeese State’s head coach, the solution may be already on Charlie Strong’s staff.
Former Buccaneers quarterback and now USF current running backs coach, Shaun King seems to be a logical choice to take over the offense for Strong. And while the Bulls floundered at the end of the 2018 regular season losing their final five games, one thing they did very well throughout the year is: run the football.
In fact running back Jordan Cronkrite finished with 1095 yards on the season and a 6.3 average per carry. He also had a five-game stretch where he ran for a hundred or more yards in every one of them. This included an October 6th game, where Cronkrite set the USF single-game record with 302 yards rushing against UMass.
While Cronkite’s numbers tapered off during the five-game losing streak at the end of the year, he still was very effective this past season overall. And, that bodes well for King getting at least a good look to take over the play-calling for the offense.
King was held over by Strong when he took over the job in 2017 after King had been hired by former coach Willie Taggart, as quarterbacks coach for the 2016 season. That year, King tutored Quinton Flowers during his junior season as the Bulls developed into a 10-win program and contended for the AAC championship.
Flowers went on to smash several school and USF career records after completion of his senior season in 2017.
King obviously has expertise in playing quarterback having done so at a very high level with Tulane, leading them to an unbeaten season in 1998. Then, King was later a second round draft pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and played for a couple of other NFL teams in having a six-year career.
He is most known for leading the Bucs to a 4-1 record at the end of his 1999 rookie regular season and helping get the Bucs to the 1999 NFC Championship game loss against the then-St Louis Rams. King started all 16 games the following year leading the Bucs to a 10-6 record and a playoff appearance. He was a reserve quarterback in Tampa Bay for the next 3 seasons including the Superbowl-winning year of 2002.
So he not only has name recognition in the Tampa Bay area for recruiting, but understands offense and what USF has already been doing the last couple of years with Gilbert, he’s scheme and play calls.
There has also been some speculation that King might rejoin Taggart in Tallahassee at Florida State. This after the Noles offense of coordinator, Walt Bell, left earlier in the week to take the head coaching job at UMass after just one season with FSU.
King is not likely to get the offensive coordinator job at FSU, because there’s a higher anxiety and scrutiny about how bad Florida State was this past season by their standards. And, there will be much more pressure on Taggart and to get a high profile experienced coordinator for that hire. However, King could still end up on Taggart staff as a position coach, too.
So, now we wait to see if Charlie Strong is truly interested in elevating the most likely candidate off his staff to take over the play-calling, or if he will go outside the building, and look for a bigger name with more experience himself.
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