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Is Charlie Strong entering his final week at USF?

Florida Football Insiders

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
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With one game remaining against rival UCF coming this Friday night, the question for USF football is: are we looking at the final week that third-year coach Charlie Strong will be at the helm?

It’s a question that we have written about several times already this season, but after Saturday’s latest blowout loss at home to Memphis 49 – 10 , the whispers have turned to louder voices on the former Texas and Louisville coach’s removal.

First on the game Saturday, USF started fine with an early 7-0 lead and was playing competitively, including intercepting Memphis quarterback Brady White a couple of times. However, Memphis got their offense in the gear behind Kenny Gainwell rushing for 128 yards and fellow RB Patrick Taylor scoring three times.

And most importantly, the Bulls offense, which is sputtered most of this year under first-year coordinator Kerwin Bell, could not put anything together even at home against a suspect Tigers defense.

USF registered only a pathetic 44 pass yards for the game, as Memphis pulled away in the third quarter and cruised to the victory.

So, with three consecutive home losses and now a record of 4 – 7, it remains to be seen whether athletic director Michael Kelly, who took over last season will decide to get rid of Strong? It is believed that Strong would be owed around $5 million for the final two years on his deal.

Strong is further in jeopardy, because USF lost their final six games a year ago, including their bowl game. And then, they opened the season with a humiliating 49 – 0 loss to Wisconsin. That led to a road loss at lowly Georgia Tech and being wiped out by SMU and Navy previously, before Saturday in the conference.

When you consider that one of USF’s wins is against an FCS opposition this season, then that means Strong is 3 – 13 in his last 16 games with the Bulls against FBS teams

Strong repeatedly has repelled questions about his job security, saying he can only be focused on that week’s opponent. Still, there’s only one opponent left and UCF is primed at home this Friday night to whallup the Bulls.

And if they do, despite starting with a 10-win season and a bowl victory in year one, Strong will have completed a dismal last season and a half, which may spell the end of his tenure in Tampa

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USF Bulls

Dabo Swinney endorsement helped USF get Jeff Scott

Florida Football Insiders

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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It’s often said in the job hiring process: “it’s not what you know, but whom you know” that can help you get the gig. And, when it came to USF looking to hire Clemson a co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott, “the whom” was his boss, Dabo Swinney.

On Wednesday, Scott met the media and USF fanbase in a huge press conference setting on campus in Tampa, and in his opening remarks made it very clear that one of the big reasons he was so interested in taking over the Bulls was the endorsement of his boss:

“He (Swinney) said: great university, great location, great conference, great recruiting base right in your back yard…you can win there. And, they have a great athletic director in Michael Kelly.”

Kelly, who was formerly an associate commissioner of the ACC before joining the College Football Playoff, as COO, has been on the job at USF for about a year and a half. And, he used his previous dealings with Swinney through the conference and the CFP to help him get his hire.

Swinney would know about taking advantage of opportunities, as he was made the interim coach at Clemson 11 years ago and has now built them into a powerhouse in the ACC and the national college football landscape. The Tigers just entered the College Football Playoff for the fifth consecutive year and will be going for their third championship in four years later this month.

Scott, who agreed to a five year $12 million deal, has been part of that as co-offensive coordinator for the past five seasons. And, he agreed to leave that post to come to USF to resurrect a program that as recently as three seasons ago, was in the top tier of the American Conference.

But, it will be a challenge to get USF back on track, as the Bulls lost 14 of their last 18 games over the last season and a half under Charlie Strong. And, the losing has seen fan base dwindle to fewer than 15,000 people at any of their home games at the end of this past season.

Scott, who’s had the chance to work with All American QB Trevor Lawrence and previously in his assistant career with the Tigers helped develop Clemson’s receivers. That includes previously working with the likes of DeAndre Hopkins, Sammy Watkins, and Mike Williams who all have gone on to NFL success.

And, that definitely brings  some credibility on Scott’s resume.

Still, when Bulls Kelly that phone call reaching out for both Swinney’s opinion and help in hiring Scott, that probably set it all to the new Bulls boss.

And four days after their ACC Title Game win, he was standing at a podium in Tampa.

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USF Bulls

USF officially hires Clemson coordinator Jeff Scott

Florida Football Insiders

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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The USF Bulls coaching search to replace Charlie Strong lasted only eight days and his replacement has a National Championship pedigree.

The school announced late Monday afternoon that they have hired Clemson offensive coordinator, Jeff Scott, to become their fifth head coach in program history:

Scott, who actually shares the offensive leadership with Tony Elliott, will receive a five year deal to leave the Tigers and come to West Central Florida.

Bulls atheltic director Michael Kelly said in their statement about the hiring of Scott,

“Jeff is a very bright, enthusiastic and driven leader for our program and we are thrilled to welcome him to USF and back to Florida, where he was born and where he has recruited so well for Clemson for many years,” Kelly said.”

“He is a young and extremely gifted offensive mind, a developer of high-level talent and an elite national recruiter who brings the experience of having played an integral role from the beginning in helping to build one of the most successful programs in college football.

“We are thrilled that he and his wife, Sara, and their daughter, Savannah, are joining our Bulls family and will be part of the exciting future of USF football.”

As we wrote last night, Scott is Clemson through and through, as he played for the Tigers in the early 2000s for three years and returned to become a coach for the Tigers in 2008. Since then, he has been a receiver’s coach, recruiting coordinator, and now to co-offensive coordinator.

The Tigers, behind All-American QB Trevor Lawrence, just rolled through a second straight unbeaten season and a Saturday night 62-17 blowout win over Virginia in the ACC Title Game. The Tigers will play Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl on December 28th in one  of the College Football playoff semi-finals.

Scott will reportedly stay and coach the Tigers in the CFP Playoff bid, as they attempt to repeat as National Champions.

Further, there’s some more that USF fans can be excited about: Scott’s successes with wide receivers. He has helped develop some great NFL prospects like DeAndre Hopkins, Sammy Watkins, and Mike Williams. He currently has one of the best groups in the country.

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

Scott tweeted this photo Monday evening with his daughter showing him signing an agreement with USF:

Scott will bring knowledge of coaching from Clemson, as well as his stint as a high school coach. His father Brad, was also a coach in college, spending time as an offensive coordinator himself at Florida State, then onto South Carolina, and settling at Clemson.

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