In this news brief: Tampa police and local organizations are stepping up their efforts in Seminole Heights; Two Tampa beaches close for high levels of bacteria; The USF football team has had an impressive season and tonight they’re playing in primetime; Busch Gardens is asking you to name their newest baby.
In December of 2016, the University of South Florida named Charlie Strong the new head coach of the football team, following Willie Taggart.
With a few months under his belt, Strong is excited to build on the strong foundation that is already in place.
“I saw the program here and just knew that it had the chance to really develop and become something special,” Strong said.
In a short amount of time, the new head coach has already had an impact on the program for spring ball.
“We are just moving in the right direction, fast, and I believe he will have a great impact,” Elkanah Dillon, tight end, said.
Strong’s coaching career has included 15 years in Florida, sporadically, since 1983, according to ESPN. During that time, he built relationships with high school coaches, players and community leaders. These relationships may help Strong to continue creating strong recruiting classes in seasons to come.
USF football is on the rise. They won 11 games last season, but Charlie Strong wants to continue pushing the team to improve and make it to conference title games.
“That’s what you play for,” Strong said. “You want to make sure you go and compete and win.”
The fourth USF Women’s Football Clinic was held on Saturday. There were over thirty women who showed up at 9:00 A.M. when the event kicked off. The clinic had many different phases throughout the day.
“In the morning we started upstairs in our team room,” says Executive Assistant Julia Reed, “We broke down offense, defense and special teams. We just broke it down. What is football? What does behind the scenes look like?”
After a morning filled with Q&A sessions with the wives of coaches and the players, there was a 50/50 raffle and a silent action. Some of the prizes included a signed football helmet by USF head football coach Willy Taggart, t-shirts and more.
The afternoon was more hands on, with the ladies going down to the practice field. They were put through the same drills that the players do on a daily basis. These drills helped teach the ladies the importance of throwing accuracy, footwork, proper technique of tackling and more.
USF President Judy Genshaft also attended the event.
“Today was double wonderful because we had the women’s football clinic this morning and later this afternoon is our spring game,” said Genshaft.
After the woman’s clinic was over, the men played their annual football spring game.
The University of South Florida hosts a festive and optimistic pep rally to prepare for the game against Florida State University. Students gathered around cheering on the USF football players as they enjoyed the energetic vibes.
This game is expected to be a sold out event USF student Lera Koch said, “It’s the first game since I have been at USF that is going to be a 300 level for students section and actually for all fans in general; so I think its going to be super awesome I think the energy is going to be crazy.”
For a university that lacks school pride, the pep rally was full of pride and hope for a victory against FSU.
“FSU is going to get demolished by the bulls they have no chance against us,” said Juan Garcia a fan who chanted green and gold throughout the pep rally.
There is no doubt that the fans will cheer on the green and gold after the USF football team defeated Syracuse giving the bulls hope for a win considering FSU loss against Louisville.
The USF football team has evolved and is ready to take on FSU, with a body of students who chant loud and proud “Go Bulls.”
Football is no longer just a game for a group of former Bulls turned NFL hopefuls, it’s a business. And these 14 prospects participated in their first job interview March 21 at the Frank Morsani Football Complex during USF’s annual pro day.
For this interview, a button-up shirt and tie were not required. Instead, skin-tight gray shirts with neon green lettering stretched over the bodies of these young, ambitious athletes as they attempted to leap, run and muscle their way into an NFL camp.
The USF football team picked up its third straight win with a 38-14 victory over SMU on Oct. 24th, winning three straight games for the first time since starting 4-0 in 2011. While the team had a strong showing on the field, take a look at a few of the stories on what goes on behind the action on game day at Raymond James Stadium.
TAMPA, Fl.– Rocky D. Bull is an icon most known for his appearances at USF sporting events. The USF mascot’s history goes back some 50 years and is an essential piece of USF’s heritage, student life and athletic competitions.
“Higher-ups in the administration of USF wanted to have a mascot designated, so they left it up to the students,” USF Associate Librarian Andrew Huse said.
Students came forward with different suggestions including the Buccaneer, the Desert Rats and the Golden Brahman.
“A lot of people don’t know that Florida has a cattle history going back many centuries… and I think it was clear early on that the administration liked this one,” Huse said.
Conflict arose when the Buccaneer was the declared winner of the first student vote by a margin of three votes. Upon the naming committee’s discovery of a junior college in Pensacola already using the pirate as a mascot, a student petitioned for a referendum where the Golden Brahman Bull won.
When it comes to modern day Rocky, he is no longer a Brahman Bull. As just USF’s bull, he is now a nationally recognized mascot.
“Back in 2013 when Rocky won the Capital One Mascot challenge… It was a long season and every week we’d have to keep on voting and I remember by the end for our school to win, it was a big deal,” said USF cheerleader Heath Rinkus. “We were all really excited in the spirit department.”