USF is getting set to open a critical third season for the tenure of coach Charlie Strong Friday night against a strong Big Ten program in Wisconsin.
And, Bulls Quarterback Blake Barnett took to the podium Monday to discuss that, a new offense, and the 2019 schedule:
— USF Football (@USFFootball) August 26, 2019
Barnett said they are getting right into a challenge like this to start the season and thinks it’s great for the program. Barnett told the media,
“We’re excited….For us to play them (the Badgers) is a great opportunity for us and this program….We’re really looking forward to this opportunity. We know it’s going to be a great game. It’s something we’re looking forward to the challenge.”
He further said the team has a really tough schedule, but it is something he and the team are excited for.
He is right as after facing the Badgers, the Bulls will face ACC foe Georgia Tech on the road. They will also meet a fellow group of five-member BYU at the end of September.
With a challenging schedule, this season the Bulls will need more leadership, especially in the first year under a new offense and it’s coordinator, Kerwin Bell.
Regarding the new offense, he says it’s very dynamic with a lot of moving parts. USF will count on the 1-2 running back punch of Jordan Cronkrite and Johnny Ford to make explosive plays like they did a year ago.
Barnett says he feels more like a leader this season. He thinks the guys trust him more on and off the field, “I try to take time and get to know the guys and spend genuine time with them.”
This is something fans will like to hear coming from the 23-year-old veteran quarterback. And he said Monday, he’s not an in your face hyped up kind of leader, but more of a guy that says things when they need to be said and the guys listen.
The Bulls have gotten off to fast starts in both of Charlie Strong’s first two years, but faded badly with six straight losses to end 2018. Now, they want to have a strong beginning and end to the 2109 season.
That starts Friday night.
Former USF coach Strong to be consultant for Alabama?
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:
Former USF/Texas/Louisville head coach Charlie Strong was in Tuscaloosa visiting with the Alabama coaching staff Thursday. Strong was let go from USF following the season.
— Aaron Suttles (@AaronSuttles) February 14, 2020
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
New USF coach Scott buys home of ex-Bucs coach Lovie Smith
New USF Coach Jeff Scott is getting acclimated not only to the Bulls players, but also to the Tampa Bay area. And, an interesting housing connection to a former Buccaneers coach has now come to light.
A report by the Tampa Bay Business Journal on Tuesday afternoon says that the former Clemson co-offensive coordinator, who took over at USF in December, has purchased the home of former Bucs and current University of Illinois coach, Lovie Smith:
— Tampa Bay Business Journal (@TBBJnewsroom) February 11, 2020
The Business Journal cites Hillsborough County property records that Scott bought the 10,000 square foot, six bedroom home near the USF campus that Smith had purchased, when he became the Bucs head coach in 2014. The luxurious home, as you can see in the photo from the real estate listing above, sits on 13 acres in the upscale, Tampa Palms section of Tampa.
Lovie Smith was fired after two seasons with an 8-16 record in Tampa Bay. The former Bears coach was immediately hired by Illinois, where he has mostly struggled in four seasons of the Big Ten. Smith’s overall record is 15 – 34, but they did have two huge Big 10 upsets of Wisconsin and Michigan State this past season. The Illini ended up going 6-6 before losing their bowl game.
Smith also lost both of his head-to-head meetings to USF in 2017 and 2018.
Back to Jeff Scott. He agreed on a five year, $12.5 million deal to take over the Bulls after they fired Charlie Strong, who had gone 4-8 last season. Scott has been part of two previous National Championships, as offensive assistant at Clemson. He was the co-offensive coordinator, as the Tigers lost the National Championship game last month to LSU.
The TBBJ further reported that the Scotts got a good deal on the home purchase paying $2.5 million for it in late January. The house had been on the market for over three years years after Smith had paid 3.5 million for it in 2014.
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