We’ve been rather preoccupied with basketball lately, and since we only have hints of what Skip Holtz, Mark Snyder, and Todd Fitch have in mind for this year’s team, it’s really hard for us to properly preview spring practice. On top of that, B.J. Daniels will sit out the contact drills while he recovers from surgery to fix a partially torn rotator cuff on his left shoulder. At least he can still throw the ball, which is better than nothing, but Evan Landi will have to shuttle over from receiver to play some QB, and Ryan Eppes, a walk-on, will get some reps as well. It will be tough to get a read on the true offense until fall practices. And with several holes to fill on defense, including five potential NFL draft picks, their spring is going to be just as much about figuring out the depth chart as it will be what kind of scheme they’re going to run.

I will say that the thought of Jon Lejiste cracking the starting lineup gets me incredibly excited. I probably watched him blow up Tavares Pressley in that FSU game about 50 times in a row on my DVR. If you put it on an endless loop I think I could have watched it for an hour straight. Yeah, those were good times.

Oh, right, spring practice, sorry. Our motto going into spring practice is basically this Skip Holtz quote:

“Ever since I got here people have been asking me, ‘How are you guys going to be?,'” Holtz said. “I always tell them, ‘I’ll let you know after Tuesday. I haven’t seen B.J. Daniels throw a pass or anybody catch one.’ So we’ll see.”

In the spirit of not knowing anything about the 2010 Bulls, here are some links that might help you out as much as us:

  • Tampa Tribune – Scott Carter hits all the main talking points and adds an important new one – the need for Holtz to keep USF’s off-the-field problems from becoming on-the-field problems. Martin Fennelly also spent some time with Holtz on the golf course and turned in a column surprisingly free of one-sentence paragraphs and pithy insight.
  • St. Petersburg Times – I’m a little disappointed that Greg Auman didn’t crank out his usual 25,000 words on a given topic, but he did put together a nice story about Todd Fitch’s game-planning abilities, plus a preview capsule that includes some bits about Mark Snyder’s 4-3 under defense.
  • RivalsAs part of his preview, David Fox points out two defensive linemen to watch – Claude Davis, who has a chance to impress, and David Bedford, who may need to fight for his spot in the rotation.
  • ESPN.com – Brian Bennett’s spring superlatives feature on USF highlights the strength of the offensive line and the perilous lack of quarterback depth. Then again, we all thought we were screwed when Matt Grothe went down last year and things turned out OK. He also found some things to watch around the Big East, if you want to keep up with the rest of the conference.

3/4/10 Holtzism

March 4, 2010

This was the last thing Coach Holtz said from his town hall meeting last night.

A new preacher comes into town, and he is preparing his sermon for his 9am service, and there is only one person there. The preacher says to the man, “Where is everyone?” The man replies, “Well I’m a farmer, and if I go to feed the cows, and only one cow shows up I still have to feed him.”

So the preacher goes for an hour and a half, pounding the pulpit and goes on and on. After the sermon, the preacher asks the man, “So how was it?” The farmer says to the preacher, “Well I’m a farmer, and if only one cow shows up to eat, I’ll be damned if I give him the whole bale of hay!”

Introducing USF’s head football coach, Skip Holtz!

Oh… wait a second, we’ll get that straightened out.

Just moving the webcam…

That might work… but we have to see the questions on the computer, too… uhhh…

Skip interrupts to ask, “Am I talking too fast for you?”

Don’t worry, we’ll get this right… here we go!

Total elapsed time – only five minutes and 38 seconds. Someone from this site might be donating a USB webcam to Athletics in the future.

(Here’s the entire Inside Skip session at the Corral.)

Busy Day on Fowler Ave

March 3, 2010

I hope that the Athletics Department has the Red Bull on ice today, because they are going to be everywhere.

The first step of the new Athletics District will start today, as the groundbreaking for the long overdue Pam and Les Muma Basketball Center will happen this afternoon. The Muma Center will give both Stan Heath and Jose Fernandez with weight rooms, practice gyms, a video room for studying game tape, and their own locker rooms.

The Muma Center will also be a huge help in recruiting. USF was always harped on for not having Big East quality facilities, and finally Heath will have the resources needed to compete with other high-major programs. Unfortunately, when you have to share The Corral between Volleyball and the Basketball programs, you are going to have scheduling difficulties, and sometimes it led to some teams practicing in the Campus Recreation Center. Thankfully, the days of me interfering with their practices are coming to an end.

You can see some of the other rendering of the Muma Center at the Bulls Club here, and hopefully they will have some more renderings at the groundbreaking today.

The other major thing today is Coach Holtz’s first Town Hall meeting today at the Corral, which Athletics is calling The Inside Skip. Coach Holtz will be talking with the fans from 6:30pm to 8:00pm, and will be answering any and all questions. Hopefully I will be able to make it to the Q&A today, so check back with us tomorrow, and we will have a report of the meeting.

Also to our Pinellas County readers, Coach Holtz will be at The Venue tomorrow for another Town Hall meeting at 6:30pm.

Today’s Holtzism

February 26, 2010

H/T to the eagle eyes at The Bulls Pen for finding this one.

“You don’t win games in February. I’ve had five stars that couldn’t play dead in a Western, and two stars that played as hard as anyone.”

The original story can be found here.

Based on his time at East Carolina, Skip Holtz seems to prefer a feature back in his offense instead of a running back by committee. Things are looking good for rising senior Mike Ford! He just has to show up to spring practice ready to roll with his head on straight, and there’s no way Holtz can resist making him the starter with his speed and power!

The USF football program dismissed senior running back Mike Ford for violation of team rules on Wednesday afternoon.

Thus ends the Mike Ford era, and you’d be hard-pressed not to call it disappointing. Ford arrived at USF in 2007 after signing with Alabama two years earlier, but failing to qualify. After a stint in junior college, Ford became eligible and turned into (I think) the first five-star recruit the Bulls ever had. He scored 13 touchdowns in 2007, mostly in short yardage running, and was likely one of the targets of a truly ridiculous tirade from Alabama coach/dark lord Nick Saban about partial qualifiers at USF, which turned out to be bogus.

Ford had other bursts of productivity. In last year’s International Bowl he rushed for 207 yards, mostly in the second half when the Bulls stopped screwing around and ran it down Northern Illinois’ collective throat. Still, he never really lived up to his potential. Because he could never be depended on in blitz protection or blocking schemes, it was tough to keep him on the field for every down despite the shrill pleas of a very loud minority of fans. His hard running style didn’t always fit into USF’s previous spread offense, which needed running backs who can catch passes. Former running backs coach Carl Franks used a rigid and sometimes bizarre rotation at the position, which affected Ford’s reps. He suffered some injuries, and off the field there was a litany of issues. I’ll let Greg Auman run them all down:

Ford has been suspended twice before, for one game in 2007 for missing classes and for the first two games of 2009 for a violation of team rules. He has also been arrested twice on driving-related infractions, turning himself in to Sarasota police in 2007 after missing a court date for driving without a valid license and registration, then getting arrested on campus in December for driving a moped on campus without a valid license.

(And you thought the Athens, Georgia, police were the only ones who busted people on mopeds.)

With his prior history, Ford didn’t have a lot of goodwill built up that would let him get away with another screwup. There are nine or ten running backs expected to be on scholarship next season and a new position coach coming in, so the time may have finally been right to cut ties with him. It’s not the biggest flameout story we’ve seen at USF (I’d still give that one to Carlton Hill), but it might be the most high-profile one. It sounds like Ford is committed to making the best of this situation, though, and we join in with Holtz with wishing him good luck.

Holtzism of the Day

February 22, 2010

Coach Holtz has already made a name for himself down here for being media friendly. He knows that you that you have to make friends with people who buy ink by the barrel, something that Coach Leavitt never really embraced. Everyone can remember some of the battles Leavitt had with the press, and I’m sure some of that led to his downfall.

Holtz throws out a saying once in a while that will make you wonder when Dr. Lou told Skip these quips, and I’ve decided to call them Holtzisms. Today’s Holtzism comes from Coach’s visit with the 1010 Morning Show this morning.

Recruiting is like shaving. You have to do it everyday or else you’ll look like a bum.

Enjoy your Monday everyone! There will be an announcement about the future of Voodoo 5 up in the next day or so.