Category Archives: Football

Charlie Strong Completes USF Football Coaching Staff Revamp for 2019 Season

(Tampa, FL) University of South Florida Head Football Coach Charlie Strong has completed the Bulls’ coaching staff, officially adding one offensive coach and three defensive coaches to the staff for his third season at the helm.

On the offensive side of the ball, Strong announced the addition of Jeremy Darveau as offensive line coach. Darveau rejoins new Bulls offensive coordinator Kerwin Bell as the pair helped lead Valdosta State to an NCAA Division II national championship with the highest scoring offense (52.0 ppg) in the division last season. Also joining USF from the Valdosta staff are Kade Bell and Andrew Robustelli, who were both standouts playing under Bell at Jacksonville University and will serve as quality control analysts for the offense at USF.

On the defensive side of the ball, Strong announced the promotion of Bryan Hill to safeties coach. Hill served the last two seasons on the USF staff in a quality control position for the defense. Strong also announced the addition of Steve Ellis as defensive backs coach and Paul Spicer as defensive line coach as well as a positional change for current assistant coach Sean Cronin, who will now coach outside linebackers. Ellis joins the USF program from Middle Tennessee State, where he served as cornerbacks coach/recruiting coordinator last season and previously served as co-defensive coordinator. Spicer joins USF from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he served as assistant defensive line coach for the last four seasons.

Strong also announced the promotion of Albert Boone to director of football operations, replacing Clifford Snow, who departed to pursue opportunities outside of football. Boone had previously served as director of on campus recruiting.

“I feel very good about our coaching staff and the energy and ability they will bring to our program as we head into the 2019 season,” Strong said. “I expect our new coaches will connect very quickly and very well with our players, bring their own perspectives and ideas and will help us excel on the field and in recruiting. We are very excited for this upcoming season and are going to work.”





USF Bulls 2019 Football Schedule Released

(Tampa, FL) The USF football team will open its third season under head coach Charlie Strong with a primetime clash vs. Wisconsin on Friday, Aug. 30 nationally televised on an ESPN network from Raymond James Stadium. The American Athletic Conference announced the 2019 schedules for all 12 conference teams on Thursday.

The clash with the Badgers, No. 17 in the CBS Sports Way-too-early Top 25 rankings for 2019, moving to Friday night of Labor Day weekend was among the highlights of a 2019 schedule that will see the Bulls play seven games in Raymond James Stadium, including five against opponents that played in bowl games last season.

The Bulls’ conference slate is highlighted by three straight November home clashes with conference title contenders Temple (2018 East Division runner-up), Cincinnati (2018 East Division third place) and Memphis (back-to-back West Division winner) before the regular season finale in the War on I-4 in Orlando. Kickoff times and remaining television designations will be announced at a later date.

The Bulls will open their 23rd season of football with their biggest season opener since winning on the road at No. 16 Notre Dame (23-20) to open the 2011 campaign. The Wisconsin game, which was originally slated for an Aug. 31 kick, will pit the Bulls against a Badger program coming off its 17th straight bowl appearance and returning Doak Walker Award winner Jonathan Taylor, who ran for 2,194 yards last season. Wisconsin appears in multiple preseason Top 25 polls after an 8-5 season capped by a 35-3 victory over Miami in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl. The Badgers won the first meeting with USF, 27-10, in 2014 in Madison, Wisc.

USF will travel to Georgia Tech on Sat., Sept. 7 for the second meeting between the schools. The Bulls used 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to post a 49-38 comeback win vs. Tech in Tampa last year. The Bulls return home on Sat., Sept. 14 to face South Carolina State and get the first of two byes on the season the following week before opening conference play in Raymond James Stadium on Sat., Sept. 28 vs. SMU. The Bulls own a 3-1 record vs. the Mustangs and it will be the first meeting since a 35-27 victory in Dallas in 2016.

USF will hit the road to face UConn on Sat., Oct. 5. The Bulls own an 11-5 record vs. the Huskies and have won the last seven meetings. USF will wrap up its non-conference slate vs. BYU on Sat., Oct. 12. It will be the first meeting with the Cougars, who posted a 7-6 mark and defeated Western Michigan in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl last season.

USF returns to conference action with back-to-back road games. The Bulls will travel to Navy on Sat., Oct. 19 for a game televised on CBS Sports Network and then head to ECU on Sat. Oct. 26 as conference play heats up.

USF will get its second bye of the season before a strong closing slate against teams that posted a combined conference record of 26-6 last year. The Bulls will get the first three of those games at home starting with a Thurs., Nov. 7 primetime game vs. Temple on ESPN. USF fell to 2-3 vs. the Owls after a 27-17 loss in Philadelphia last year as Temple went 7-1 in the conference and finished second in the East Division. The Bulls beat Temple, 43-7, in 2017 in a Thursday primetime clash in Raymond James Stadium.

Cincinnati comes to Tampa on Sat., Nov. 16 followed by a visit by defending West Division champion Memphis on Sat., Nov. 23. The Bearcats posted an 11-2 record last season, including a 35-23 victory over USF in Cincinnati to take a 9-7 lead in the series and end a string of three straight USF wins. Memphis posted an 8-6 record last season and fell in the conference championship game for the second straight year. The Tigers lead the series with USF, 5-4, but the Bulls posted a 49-42 victory in Memphis in the last meeting in 2016.

The Bulls close out the 2019 regular season with the traditional Friday clash with UCF. The 11th installment of the War on I-4 is set for Fri., Nov. 29 in Orlando and will be broadcast on an ESPN Network to be designated later. USF leads the series, 6-4, but will look to end a string of two straight wins by the Knights, who claimed a 38-10 victory in Tampa last year and won an epic 49-42 game in the last meeting in Orlando in 2017.

The American Athletic Conference Football Championship Game will be played on Saturday, Dec. 7 at the home site of the division winner with the better conference record.





East West Shrine Game Recap from Tropicana Field 1-19-19

Doug Miles recaps the 2019 East West Shrine College Football All-Star game from Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, FL.





Former Gators QB Kerwin Bell Named Bulls Offensive Coordinator & Quarterbacks Coach

(Information provided by the USF Athletic Department)

(Tampa, FL) Fresh from leading Valdosta State to the 2018 NCAA Division II championship with the nation’s No. 1 ranked scoring offense in the division (52.0 ppg), Florida native Kerwin Bell has been named the Bulls’ offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach, USF Head Coach Charlie Strong announced Thursday.

Bell, a former standout quarterback and SEC Player of the Year at the University of Florida (1984-87), comes to USF after 12 seasons as a successful head coach leading programs at Valdosta State (2016-18) and Jacksonville University (2007-15) and a 14-year playing career in professional football, which included stops with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1989) and Miami Dolphins (1988).

“I have known Kerwin for more than 30 years and have a great deal of respect for what he has done in his career both as a player and coach and the success of the football programs he has led,” Strong said. “He has directed some very explosive, high-scoring offenses and consistently puts his players in position to reach their highest potential. We are very excited to have Kerwin joining our staff.”

Strong and Bell were first part of the same program during the 1983-84 seasons at Florida, where Strong was serving in his first coaching position as a graduate assistant and Bell was a walk-on quarterback. Bell, a native of Mayo, Fla., earned the Gators’ starting quarterback job as a redshirt freshman in 1984 and went on to earn SEC Player of the Year honors after leading the Gators to a 9-1-1 record, SEC championship and top five national ranking.

Bell most recently served three seasons as the head coach at Valdosta State (2016-18) where he guided the offense and led the Blazers to a 27-7 record, a school-record 15 straight victories, two Division II playoff appearances and conference and national championships in 2018. He was named the 2018 Gulf South Conference Co-Coach of the Year after leading VSU to a 14-0 record (the first unbeaten season in program history) and a 49-47 victory over Ferris State in the Division II National Championship game, the program’s first title since 2012.

Bell’s 2018 offense led the nation in scoring (52.0 ppg), ranked second in first downs (341) and was fourth in total offense (523.9 ypg), red-zone offense (.901) and pass efficiency (167.37).
Bell led VSU to runner-up conference finishes in his first two years guiding the program and went 8-3 with a playoff appearance in his first season at the helm in 2016 as the Blazers led the nation with 27 interceptions.

Prior to VSU, Bell led Jacksonville University for nine seasons, guiding the Football Championship Series program to a 66-35 record and three Pioneer Football League championships. Also serving as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, Bell was named the 2008 PFL Coach of the Year and an Eddie Robinson Award finalist after leading the Dolphins to a 9-4 record and conference title.

Prior to taking over the Jacksonville program, Bell led Trinity Catholic High School in Ocala, Fla, for six seasons (2001-06), earning a Florida 2B state title in 2005 and runner-up finish in 2006.

Bell was selected in the seventh round of the 1988 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins, beginning a 14-year professional career that saw stops with the NFL teams in Miami, Atlanta, Tampa Bay and Indianapolis as well as stops in the Canadian Football League (where he passed for 19,538 yards and 101 touchdowns in nine seasons) and the World League of American Football.

Bell earned a degree in psychology from the University of Florida in 1987. After beginning his career at UF as a walk-on, he was inducted into the University of Florida Athletics Hall of Fame in 1997 following a four-year career (1984-87) that saw him pass for 7,585 yards and 56 touchdowns. He was ranked the No. 26 greatest Gator of all-time from the first 100 years of UF football in 2006 by The Gainesville Sun.





94th East-West Shrine Game in St. Pete To Be Broadcast Nationally on Radio

(St. Petersburg, FL) The East-West Shrine Game, the nation’s longest running college all-star football game, will air Saturday, January 19 on an international radio network including over one hundred fifty stations led by SB Nation Radio, on SiriusXM radios and the SiriusXM app (SiriusXM NFL Radio, channel 88) as well as online at shrinegame.com. The broadcast will be available on phones, tablets and other connected devices via the free Tunein internet radio app for mobile devices. WHBO 1040 will be the local Tampa Bay flagship station for the national broadcast.

“We’re thrilled to continue our partnership with the East West Shrine game,” said David Gow, Chairman and CEO of Gow Media. “It’s an honor to broadcast such a wonderful game each year and help shine a spotlight on the outstanding work by Shriners Hospitals for Children.”

For the eighth year, Patrick Kinas will lead the live broadcast from Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. Kinas is a veteran play-by-play broadcaster heard nationally on Westwood One’s college football and basketball coverage while also hosting the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea for Westwood One earlier this year. Patrick is also in his 7th year as voice of the Durham Bulls (Triple-A, Tampa Bay Rays) and made several substitute appearances on the Rays Radio Network in 2018 as well.

Eight-year National Football League veteran (Falcons & Seahawks) Derek Rackley returns to the booth as analyst for the game broadcast. Since retiring from the League, Rackley has been active in booths for Big Ten and CBS Sports Networks and most recently broadcast NCAA and NFL games on Westwood One’s national radio network. Former NFL and MLB All Star Brian Jordan return for the 7th year to add his perspective to this iconic event and action on the field.

Michigan broadcaster Rick Berkey will again patrol the sidelines, interviewing players, NFL coaches and all-star guests in attendance in support of the game’s beneficiary, Shriners Hospitals for Children®.

The game radio broadcast airs at 2:15 p.m. EST with kickoff scheduled for 3:07 p.m. EST.

The four and a half hour broadcast will be filled with exciting game action, interesting player stories, and interviews conducted live from the sidelines. The broadcast will highlight the important work of Shriners Hospitals for Children, featuring the 2019 patient ambassadors and their parents.

St. Petersburg based Play-by-Play Sports Properties LLC produces the broadcasts. Joe Bourdow serves as Executive Producer. Additional information about the radio network broadcast is available at shrinegame.com.

The East-West Shrine Game® is the longest running college all-star football game in the nation. An invitation to take part in the game is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the best collegiate football players in the country to showcase their talents as top NFL prospects. Since 1925, the game has benefited Shriners Hospitals for Children®.

Shriners Hospitals for Children improves the lives of children by providing pediatric specialty care, conducting innovative research, and offering outstanding educational programs for medical professionals. Children with orthopaedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries, and cleft lip and palate are eligible for care, regardless of the families’ ability to pay, and receive all care and services in a compassionate, family-centered environment.





Iowa Defeats Mississippi State 27-22 in the Outback Bowl

(Tampa, FL) Safety Jake Gervase made an interception in the end zone to help preserve a late lead, and ball-hawking Iowa Hawkeyes beat No. 18 Mississippi State in the Outback Bowl 27-22 Tuesday.

Gervase also batted down an errant fourth-down pass to end the Bulldogs’ final drive at the Iowa 32 with 25 seconds left. Two earlier Mississippi State threats in the fourth quarter led to only three points.

The Hawkeyes totaled just 199 yards, with 75 coming on a touchdown pass from Nathan Stanley to Nick Easley, but they converted three takeaways into 17 points.

Stanley threw for 214 yards and three scores. The Hawkeyes won despite netting minus 15 yards rushing, and their three running backs totaled 4 yards in 15 carries.

Iowa (9-4) earned its biggest postseason victory since an Orange Bowl win over Georgia Tech to cap the 2009 season. Mississippi State (8-5) lost to a team outside the top 15 for the first time.

Trailing 24-19, the Bulldogs had a first down at the Iowa 1 early in the fourth quarter, but three quarterback draws lost 2 yards and they settled for a field goal.

They were again on the verge of taking the lead with nine minutes left, but receiver Stephen Guidry bobbled a pass in the end zone, and Gervase snatched it away. The Hawkeyes then drove 50 yards for a field goal to go up 27-22.

The Hawkeyes scored two touchdowns in 97 seconds for a 17-6 lead. The Bulldogs rallied with two touchdowns in 18 seconds to go up 19-17, with quarterback Nick Fitzgerald giving them the advantage on a nifty 33-yard touchdown run — his 100th career score rushing or passing.

But on their next possession, Fitzgerald’s tipped pass was intercepted by defensive lineman Chauncey Golston. Stanley then scrambled to convert a fourth and 1, and on the next play he hit Easley to put Iowa ahead to stay, 24-19.

The Hawkeyes won because they kept the game close early despite a slow start. They trailed only 6-0 after one quarter even though they had minus 8 yards and a 12-yard punt.

Mississippi State tried some trickery in the first quarter by throwing down the middle to quarterback Keytaon Thompson, but he dropped a potential touchdown pass and the Bulldogs settled for a field goal.

The Bulldogs had 90 yards in penalties while Iowa had none. Targeting and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties on Mississippi State jump-started the Hawkeyes’ offense and led to a field goal for their first score. A 51-yard completion for the Bulldogs was negated by a holding penalty.

The Bulldogs, who allowed only 12 touchdowns in the regular season, gave up two in quick succession in the second quarter.

First Easley slipped several yards behind the secondary to catch Stanley’s long throw in stride. The touchdown pass was the 50th of Stanley’s career — and his longest. It was the longest play allowed by the Bulldogs this season.

Two snaps later, A.J. Epenesa’s strip sack of Fitzgerald gave the Hawkeyes the ball at the 13, and they scored on Ihmir Smith-Marsette’s touchdown catch for a 17-6 lead. The fumble lost was Fitzgerald’s first in 511 carries.

Iowa will likely finish in the Top 25 for only the second time in the past nine seasons. Coach Kirk Ferentz concluded his 20th season at Iowa and improved to 152-101, including 8-8 in bowl games.

The down-to-the-wire finish was a rarity for the Bulldogs, who had only one other game decided by fewer than 14 points.

Stanley will be a third-year starter returning to lead the 2019 Hawkeyes, who also will have their top three rushers back. They open the season Aug. 31 at home against Miami (Ohio).

With fifth-year senior Fitzgerald departing, the Bulldogs will have a new starting quarterback — possibly Thompson — when they open the 2019 season Aug. 31 in New Orleans against Louisiana.





Marshall Hands USF 6th Straight Loss with 38-20 Win at The Gasparilla Bowl In Tampa

(Tampa, FL) Most Valuable Player Keion Davis rushed for a game-high 94 yards and a pair of touchdowns to lead the Marshall Thundering Herd (9-4, 6-2 C-USA) to a 38-20 victory over the USF Bulls (7-6, 3-4 AAC) in the 11th annual Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl at Raymond James Stadium before an announced crowd of 14,135. USF completes a disappointing season with 6 straight losses after going 7-0.

Davis did almost all of his damage in the second half, picking up 82 of his 94 yards on just nine carries. His 16-yard touchdown run with 6:24 left in the fourth quarter gave the Herd its final 18-point margin and secured Marshall’s record third win in three Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl appearances. Marshall also won in 2011 (20-10 over FIU) and in 2015 (16-10 over UConn).

Marshall never trailed, jumping out to a 14-0 lead less than 11 minutes into the game on the strength of short scoring runs by quarterback Isaiah Green and running back Anthony Anderson. Green’s score capped a seven-play, 81-yard drive and Anderson’s plunge followed a fumble recovery and return of 29 yards to the USF 1-yard line by Marshall’s Darius Hodge.

USF cut the lead in half at the 2:43 mark of the second quarter thanks to a 38-yard scoring pass from slotback/wildcat Tyre McCants who found Randall St. Felix open in the end zone.
The Bulls were unable to get any closer in the game as Marshall extended its lead to 28-7 late in the second quarter and carried a 28-10 lead into halftime.

St. Felix highlighted the USF offensive effort collecting a Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl-record 165 receiving yards on just six catches. St. Felix added his second touchdown reception of the night on a 33-yard connection with quarterback Blake Barnett late in the third quarter which narrowed Marshall’s lead to 31-20.

Marshall’s balanced offensive attack finished with 503 total yards — 282 rushing and 221 passing. The Herd’s defense limited USF to 360 total yards and just 92 on the ground. Marshall did not allow an opposing rusher to reach 100 yards in any game during the 2018 season and the streak now has reached 14 games.





USF Bulls Football Program Signs 19 on First Day of Early Signing Period

(Tampa, FL) The University of South Florida football program welcomed 19 new student-athletes during the first day of the NCAA Early Signing Period, which began Wednesday and ends Friday.

Head Coach Charlie Strong and the Bulls were preparing for USF’s fourth straight bowl appearance as the early signing period began. USF takes on Marshall Thursday in the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl, set for an 8 p.m. kickoff at Raymond James Stadium before a national TV audience on ESPN.

On Wednesday, the first of three days in the early signing period, USF received National Letters of Intent from 19 student-athletes that will don the green and gold. Fifteen of the new Bulls hail from the state of Florida, while three are from Georgia and one is from Virginia.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Bulls added 10 players, including a pair of junior college players. Four of the signees play in the secondary, including junior college cornerback McArthur Burnett (Pahokee/Coffeyville CC), who began his career at Florida playing is six games as a redshirt freshman in 2017. He is joined by cornerbacks Jayden Curry (Virginia Beach, Va./IMG Academy) and Daquan Evans (Orlando/Jones HS) and safety Leonard Parker (Tampa/Plant HS).

The Bulls added three players along the defensive line, including junior college defensive end Tyrik Jones (Plantation/Arizona Western CC). He is joined by defensive ends Thomas Nance (Eagle Lake/Lake Region HS) and Jason Vaughn (Auburndale/Advance Prep).

The Bulls also added three linebackers in Demaurez Bellamy (Deland/Deland HS), Tae’Aviion Gray (Quitman, Ga./Brook County HS) and Darius Williams (Miami/Norland HS), who tallied 58 tackles, 10 tackles for loss and six sacks in his senior season.

On the offensive side of the ball, the Bulls added nine players, including quarterback Jahquez Evans (Atlanta/Mays HS), a Georgia 6A All-State first team selection who threw for 928 yards and 10 touchdowns and ran for 365 yards and four touchdowns in six games in his senior year.

The Bulls added four offensive linemen in Joshua Blanchard (Miami/Norland HS), Raymond Collins (Largo/Largo HS), Dustyn Hall (Punta Gorda/Charlotte HS) and Matthew McDuffie (Glen Saint Mary/Baker County HS).

USF also added a running back in Josh Berry (Davenport/Ridge Community HS) and three wide receivers, including 6-4 Logan Berryhill (Kingsland, Ga./Camden County HS), 6-1 Xavier Weaver (Orlando/Orland Christian Prep), who posted 110 catches, 2,124 yards and 32 touchdowns on his career, and Groveland, Fla. speedster Kelley Joiner Jr. (South Lake HS), who tallied 4,525 career yards and 55 touchdowns rushing.





USF-Florida Football Series Start Moved Up to 2021 in Tampa

(Tampa, FL) USF’s football series with the Florida Gators will begin one-year earlier than previously scheduled and now open in Tampa, USF Vice President of Athletics Michael Kelly announced on Thursday. Kelly also announced the addition of a seventh home opponent to the Bulls’ 2019 slate.

“The University of Florida has been great working with us on this series and we appreciate being able to make adjustments that work best for both programs,” Kelly said. “We are excited to get the Gators in Tampa two years earlier than originally scheduled and to add to our 2021 non-conference schedule that also includes games at N.C. State and BYU.”

The Bulls’ three-game series vs. Florida, previously slated to begin in 2022 in Gainesville, will now get underway on Sept. 11, 2021 with a clash in Raymond James Stadium. The Gators first visit to face USF in Tampa had previously been scheduled for the 2023 season.

The Bulls will complete the series with the Gators with two previously announced games in Gainesville on Sept. 17, 2022 and Sept. 6, 2025.

Kelly also announced the addition of a game vs. South Carolina State to the Bulls’ 2019 home schedule, bringing the home slate to seven games. The Sept. 14 game vs. the Bulldogs in Raymond James Stadium completes USF’s 2019 non-conference schedule, which also includes home games in the season-opener on Aug. 31 vs. Wisconsin and on Oct. 12 vs. BYU as well as a Sept. 7 road date at Georgia Tech.

The Bulls also have future non-conference series vs. Power 6 opponents scheduled against Texas (2020, 2022, 2024), N.C. State (2021 & 2024) and Louisville (2022, 2024 & 2026), with all making visits to Raymond James Stadium.





Outback Bowl Matchup: Iowa vs. Mississippi State January 1 in Tampa

(Tampa, FL) The Iowa Hawkeyes and No. 18 Mississippi State Bulldogs will square-off for the first time in the Outback Bowl on New Year’s Day in Tampa, bowl officials announced Sunday. Both teams are 8-4. It will be the first time these teams have played in 119+ seasons of their football history. It will also be the first appearance by Mississippi State in the Outback Bowl.

“We are thrilled to extend an invitation to Iowa and Mississippi State to play in this year’s Outback Bowl,” said Outback Bowl Chairman Todd Timmerman. “These are two quality teams that should produce a terrific match-up that fans are really going to enjoy watching on New Year’s Day. We look forward to hosting the Hawkeye and Bulldog teams and their fans, and ensure them they will have an amazing experience in the Tampa Bay area.”

“I am thrilled for our team and our tremendous group of seniors who have earned the opportunity to go out with a New Year’s Day bowl in the state of Florida,” MSU head coach Joe Moorhead said. “The Outback Bowl is the perfect destination for our team. I have always had tremendous respect for Coach Ferentz and his Iowa teams.”

“We are excited to accept a bid to our first Outback Bowl to cap off Joe Moorhead’s successful first season as our head football coach,” MSU Director of Athletics John Cohen said. “I want to congratulate our team and our coaching staff for earning our program’s ninth straight bowl appearance. This team featured college football’s best defense and demonstrated overall improvement throughout the year, as shown by winning four of its last five games, including a dominant win in a rivalry game to finish the regular season. Tampa is a great city, with an endless number of entertainment opportunities for our fans, and we always look forward to playing in an NFL stadium. I encourage our Bulldog family to pack Raymond James Stadium and send our senior class out the right way.”

“Our football team, coaches, and staff are excited to be invited to the 2019 Outback Bowl,” said Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz. “We know we will enjoy outstanding hospitality, and we know we will face a quality opponent from the SEC. This is a great reward for how hard our players have worked and the success they have enjoyed this season.”

The Outback Bowl will be played on January 1st at 12:00 PM ET at Raymond James Stadium.

For information on Outback Bowl events leading up to the game go to the bowl web site at www.outbackbowl.com.