On Thursday afternoon the USF Bulls announced more out of conference scheduling, and in both cases, it involves to FCS State programs of note. The Bulls will be resuming their series with Florida A&M and have agreed to play Bethune-Cookman for the first times in program history.
🚨 SCHEDULE ALERT 🚨
Bulls ink several home dates with in-state programs Bethune-Cookman & Florida A&M to visit Raymond James Stadium.
✅ FAMU to visit Tampa in 2021, 2023 & 2027
✅ Bethune-Cookman to come to Tampa in 2020 & 2026
👉 https://t.co/EZmsdOVGFB#BullStrong 🤘💪 pic.twitter.com/xVctuJjn5C
— USF Football (@USFFootball) June 20, 2019
USF will play the Rattlers in September of 2021 in the first of a three-game series in which the Bulls will host FAMU again in 2023 and 2027. USF leads the all-time series three victories to none, including a 51-3 pasting in 2015 at Raymond James Stadium. Meanwhile, it will be the first time that USF has ever played Bethune-Cookman in football, and that will come in September of next year. Then, the Bulls and Wildcats will play again, in September of 2026.
The announcement of adding Bethune-Cookman to the 2020 schedule completes the out of conference opponents. USF will open that season against the Texas Longhorns in Austin, which if all things remain equal, means the current coach Charlie Strong will face his previous employer in a “Lone Star State” battle. The Bulls will also host Nevada at home and play at FAU in Boca Raton before beginning American Conference play next season.
As for the 2021 schedule, Florida A&M fits in as one of two Bulls out of conference home games. The other being against the mighty Florida Gators the previous week, Saturday September 11th at Raymond James Stadium. USF will open the 2021 season at ACC opponent, NC State and will also play in late September at BYU in Provo, Utah, before the American Conference games.
Bulls athletic director Michael Kelly released this statement on the additions of FAMU and Bethune-Cookman:
“We are excited to add five home games vs. a pair of in-state programs and to be able to continue to build and highlight the great tradition of college football in the state of Florida, ” Kelly said. “Florida A&M and Bethune-Cookman both have deep traditions and passionate fan bases and we look forward to a great atmosphere in Raymond James Stadium for these games.”
And as USF is touting they now have 17 non-conference games against Power Six opponents over the next decade, and that includes: Alabama, Florida and Miami playing them at home as part of “two for one” deals, where the Bulls will play those schools twice at their location.
New Bulls coach Scott eagerly embracing new challenge
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.
— Coach Jeff Scott (@coach_jeffscott) January 17, 2020
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.
— Joey Knight (@TBTimes_Bulls) January 16, 2020
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.
Coordinator musical chairs all related to Willie Taggart
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:
WELCOME to the newest resident of "Paradise." https://t.co/sQDMrJ6gld
— FAU Football (@FAU_Football) December 22, 2019
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.
Welcome to the Bay, Charlie Weis Jr. ! 🌴
Named Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach.
✅Led FAU offense that ranked 14th in FBS in scoring (36.4 ppg) and posted 6,280 yards & 65 TD.
➡️https://t.co/cqjC1ROYcW#United #Bullieve #HornsUp 🤘 pic.twitter.com/9dbeXxTnav
— USF Football (@USFFootball) December 23, 2019
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.
Still with us?
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.
Miami Hurricanes12 hours ago
Not so fast on QB D’Eriq King coming to Hurricanes?
Miami Dolphins1 week ago
Who is new Dolphins defensive coordinator Josh Boyer?
CFB1 week ago
Coaches and rosters finalized for East-West Shrine Bowl
Tampa Bay Buccaneers1 day ago
Bucs Evans got respect from LeBron James Saturday night