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USF is winning but Charlie Strong wants more support

Olivia Stacey

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Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire

There is no disputing USF is off to a great start. The Bulls moved up one spot this week to #16 in the latest Amway Coaches Poll, while they remained at #18 in the latest Associated Press poll for the second consecutive week.

Their tenth straight poll appearance ties the program record set back in 2008.

There’s a lot to like about this USF team. The Bulls feature one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in college football, a revamped defense who continues to make strides, and an offense that can dazzle.

However, even though South Florida is off to one of their strongest starts in program history, their attendance hasn’t reflected that success. USF’s average announced home attendance for their three home games is 28,730— that ranks seventh in the AAC.

Where’s the enthusiasm? Where are the fans? Apparently, not at Raymond James Stadium.

Two of USF’s three home games were on weeknights so perhaps that’s skewing the numbers. The Bulls faced Illinois on a Friday, and their conference opener was against Temple on a Thursday.

Even so, you’d think an undefeated team playing the defending American Conference champion would draw a bigger crowd.

USF trounced Temple, 43-7, in a nationally televised game. While people tuned into the ESPN broadcast, there weren’t many who caught the action live in the stands with an announced attendance being just 24,325.

It’s something head coach Charlie Strong would like to see change.

“I actually had a conversation with our mayor here (Bob Buckhorn) and I had a conversation with our chamber of commerce board,” Strong said Monday on the AAC’s weekly coaches teleconference.

“I just said to them, ‘You have a really good football team and we just need your support and we need everybody on board, and we just need people to just come out to the games.’

“We play in a really nice arena and there’s so many positives, and we’ve just got to continue to talk about it, get our student body behind us, get our administration here at the university behind us, and we’ll get those seats filled.”

It isn’t the first time Strong has addressed USF’s low turnout.

After the Bulls’ home opener against Stony Brook only drew an announced crowd of 18,302, Strong had a message for fans: it’s time to get on board.

“I’d say this, we had a lot of fans that came out to the game, there were a lot of fans that didn’t show up,” Strong said. ”We just need to get everybody on board.”

USF picked up their fifth victory of the season in their road conference opener against East Carolina on Saturday afternoon. ECU, who has struggled this season at 1-4, drew a larger crowd than any USF home game thus far with an announced attendance of 34,883.

“You’re right, the fans came out,” Strong said when asked on his thoughts on East Carolina’s turnout. “It’s more about supporting. It don’t matter who you play, and that’s the way they look at it now. They were playing a good football team with us, but you come out and support your school. At the end of the day you’re cheering for the players on the field and you’re cheering for your university.”

I think I hear a call to action for USF fans.

Cries for attendance aren’t anything new. USF has battled filling the 65,000 seats at RJS, since the stadium opened in 1998.

Then, again, the Bucs have also had trouble filling it on Sundays, especially without the opposing fans turning out in large numbers. Look at Sunday, where the Giants easily had over 25,000 fans of their own there in an announced sellout.

The Bulls, who are on a bye week, will return for Homecoming on Saturday, Oct. 14 vs. Cincinnati in what was announced Monday as a prime time start in Raymond James Stadium.

They are exciting to watch, so far in 2017…for those that have come to the games.

Olivia is a multi-faceted sports reporter based in Tampa Bay where she has covered events from the College Football National Championship to the Stanley Cup Final. A native Floridian, she grew up rooting for Tampa’s sports teams, and graduated from East Lake High in Tarpon Springs. Olivia continued her education at the University of Florida where she received her broadcast journalism degree.

USF Bulls

Report- Alabama will hire Charlie Strong as consultant

Florida Football Insiders

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Former USF coach Charlie Strong has decided on a new role for the upcoming 2020 season, and it won’t be in Gainesville.

ESPN college football insider Chris Low reported Tuesday morning that Strong has agreed to join Nick Saban’s staff at Alabama as a defensive “consultant” for this season

As we wrote last week, Strong had visited Saban and the Tide about the possible position on his staff, while considering a similar opportunity to join either Dan Mullen’s Gators staff or a couple of others in a consulting role. None of this will 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.

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USF Bulls

Former USF coach Strong to be consultant for Alabama?

Florida Football Insiders

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Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

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:

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

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