Tag Archives: Charlie Strong

USF Bulls End Losing Skid in 55-16 Win Over South Carolina State Saturday Night in Tampa

(Tampa, FL) Quarterback Jordan McCloud accounted for five touchdowns in his first career start in a 55-16 rout of South Carolina State at Raymond James Stadium on Saturday night.

Redshirt freshman McCloud completed 16 of 27 passes for 217 yards and three touchdowns. The Tampa native also rushed for two scores and 56 yards.

USF (1-2) scored 42 points off takeaways after forcing five turnovers in its 31-point second half.

Sophomore Johnny Ford, who moved from running back to receiver in the spring, recorded his first 100-yard receiving game with 100 yards on just four catches, including a 42-yard touchdown to start USF’s scoring and a career long 52-yarder in the fourth quarter. Ford also had a 32-yard touchdown run and gained 37 yards on three carries.

In the first half, McCloud threw two touchdown passes and rushed for another while the USF defense totaled three takeaways and six tackles for loss (9.0 total on the night) as the Bulls built a 24-3 advantage.

After a field goal by SC State (2-1) started the scoring, Ford’s 42-yard touchdown reception boosted the Bulls into the lead with 5:05 remaining in the opening quarter. Ford has touchdown receptions in back-to-back games, both on passes from McCloud.

McCloud’s career long 31-yard run down to the SC State 4 paved the way for Coby Weiss’ 20-yard field goal that extended the lead to 10-3 with 14:16 to play in the first half.

Livingstone scooped up a fumble on sophomore cornerback Bentlee Sanders’ (Tampa) first career sack before another USF score. Wilcox set the program’s new tight end career touchdown receptions record he’d later extend with a 20-yard catch that helped the Bulls up their lead to 17-3 with 9:22 to go before halftime.

“I was so proud to see the way we bounced back”, Head Coach Charlie Strong said. “Losing that game last week, a game that you felt like we should have won, we didn’t come away with the victory. Then we come back and win this game. Now, everything counts. Now, we’ve got to get ready for conference play.”

Following a bye week, USF opens conference play with home game against SMU on Saturday, Sept. 28 at Raymond James Stadium kickoff at 4PM EDT. Game to be televised on ESPNU.

USF Falls to Georgia Tech 14-10 Saturday, Losing Streak Now at 8

(Atlanta, GA) In a more competitive game than its season opener, USF hung tough but fell short in a 14-10 loss to Georgia Tech Saturday at Bobby Dowd Stadium in Atlanta. The Bulls extended their losing string dating back to last season to eight games.

Despite the USF defense forcing four punts in the first half, Georgia Tech took a 14-3 lead into the locker room thanks to a two-touchdown second quarter.

On the opening drive, USF’s defense forced its first of three three-and-outs in the first half and Georgia Tech missed a field goal before the Bulls took a 3-0 lead. Redshirt sophomore Randall St. Felix’s 22-yard reception on fourth-and-4 from the Tech 38 helped set up a 27-yard field goal by junior Coby Weiss with 3:40 remaining in the first quarter.

Jordan Mason’s 1-yard touchdown run gave the Yellow Jackets the lead less than four minutes into the second quarter. Tobias Oliver’s 7-yard touchdown run with 53 seconds left in the half, helped spot Georgia Tech a 14-3 advantage.

Sails delivered the big play USF needed in the second half, intercepting his first pass as a Bull and returning it 6 yards to the Georgia Tech 25 late in the third quarter. USF cashed in three plays later with Ford’s 20-yard touchdown reception on a pass from Jordan McCloud, who had replaced starting QB Blake Barnett.

“We had our chances”, Bulls Head Coach Charlie Strong said. “We had the ball first-and-goal at the 1-yard line. We get a penalty, then we go backwards, then we turn it over. We’ve just got to convert when we have those opportunities.”

On replacing Blake Barnett with McCLoud in the second half Strong commented, “We just needed a change-up and we just needed to get going. We weren’t moving the ball. We got enough around us where we could move the football, so we gave Jordan a chance to let him come in.”

The Bulls return to Raymond James Stadium to host South Carolina State next Saturday, Sept. 14 at 6 p.m.

Wisconsin Badgers Shutout USF 49-0 in Bulls Season Opener in Tampa Friday Night

(Tampa, FL) It was as ugly as the night was long. After a 55-minute lightning delay, Wisconsin turned out the lights on the Bulls early and often in a 49-0 thrashing before 46,704 restless fans at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Friday night.

Wisconsin Heisman hopeful Jonathan Taylor’s three touchdown first half helped power the Badgers to a 28-0 lead by the break. Taylor rushed for 135 yards total and 2 touchdowns and caught passes for another 2 scores before sitting out most of the second half in the rout. Taylor’s 37-yard TD run got Wisconsin on the board first. The Badgers later stripped Bulls quarterback Blake Barnett and returned the fumble 16 yards for a touchdown and 14-0 lead. Barnett finished 13-of-30 for 109 yards and two interceptions on the night.

The Bulls season opener was one everyone would like to forget quickly as the team hits the road this Saturday against Georgia Tech in a 2PM (EDT) kickoff.

Head coach Charlie Strong’s thoughts after USF’s season opener:

The Bulls return to Raymond James Stadium to host South Carolina State on Saturday, Sept. 14 at 6 p.m.





Coach Charlie Strong to Speak at First-Ever Bulls Kickoff Luncheon in Tampa August 15th

(Tampa, FL) Head Coach Charlie Strong and the entire 2019 USF football team will be in attendance for the first-ever Bulls Kickoff Luncheon to be held on Thurs., Aug. 15 at the Tampa Marriott Water Street (700 S. Florida Ave.) in downtown Tampa.

The kickoff event will run 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., with lunch served at noon, and will feature Strong previewing the Bulls’ upcoming season, Vice President of Athletics Michael Kelly, an opportunity to meet the 2019 team, photo opportunities with Rocky the Bull and USF cheer teams, the USF Herd of Thunder Band, and door prizes for those in attendance. Attendees will be seated with USF players at their table.

Registration for the Bulls Kickoff Luncheon is open to the public, with nearly 300 already having registered for the event held in the Marriott’s Grand Ballroom. A table for eight may be purchased for $300 and individual tickets are $30. Registration for the event is on-line. Questions can be directed to 1-800-GoBulls.

“The 2019 football season is just around the corner and we are very excited to be going to the heart of Tampa for this first-ever kickoff event,” Vice President of Athletics Michael Kelly said. “We have a very exciting team returning and we look forward to the opportunity to have Coach Strong, our coaching staff and all our players downtown to meet our fans at this unique event.”

USF opens the season on Fri., Aug. 30 with an ESPN primetime clash with Wisconsin at 7 p.m. in Raymond James Stadium.





USF Bulls Show Signs of Improvement in Spring Football Showcase Saturday

(Tampa, FL) The USF Bulls played its spring football game Saturday afternoon at Corbett Stadium on campus as fans got a first look at new Offensive Coordinator Kerwin Bell’s offense.

Starting quarterback Blake Barnett set the tone by throwing a 75-yard touchdown pass to tight end Mitchell Wilcox on the very first play. By the final whistle, USF’s offense produced five touchdowns and two field goals in a 73-36 victory over the defense, which was limited by spring practice rules.

“I just feel like we’ve got a lot of momentum coming from this spring camp and I think we’re going to take that into the fall,” said Wilcox, a senior from Tarpon Springs, Fla., who led all receivers with 90 yards on two catches.

Saturday’s scoring system featured normal point totals for touchdowns and field goals on top of two points being awarded for 15-plus yard plays and one point for fourth-down conversions. Defensively, three-and-outs counted for three points, turnovers counted for four and fourth-down stops earned the Bulls one point.

“I like the way the offense just came out. They were able to operate,” head coach Charlie Strong said. “Defensively with the scoring system, defensive guys got mad at me because I took away the sacks and tackles for loss, which could have added more points to the score.”

USF’s offense was certainly happy with the result after producing what would have been 41 points in a real game situation as all three quarterbacks threw at least one touchdown and combined for 509 yards passing.

Behind Barnett, redshirt freshman Jordan McCloud completed 17 of 25 passes for 228 yards and two touchdowns. Before McCloud’s scores, redshirt freshman Octavious Battle threw a 29-yard pass to Jernard Phillips for a score and added a 10-yard TD pass to slot receiver Bryce Miller in the first quarter.

“From day one of spring practice to where we are now, we’ve come a million miles on offense,” head coach Charlie Strong said.





USF Bulls Set to Begin Spring Practice Tuesday March 19th

(Tampa, FL) The USF Bulls football team will return to the field on Tuesday, March 19 for the first of 15 spring practices to prepare for their third season under head coach Charlie Strong.

Strong announced one of those spring practices will be held on location at Clearwater Central Catholic High School on Saturday, April 6 and will be open to the public. The open practice is scheduled from 10:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.

The USF Spring Game presented by USF Federal Credit Union will once again return to Corbett Stadium on the USF campus on Saturday, April 13 with a 1 p.m. kickoff. The spring game, which has drawn capacity crowds the past four seasons to Corbett Stadium, is free to the public and will cap off a day of entertainment on campus that begins with a street festival starting at 11 a.m. outside the stadium.

The 2019 Bulls return 16 starters (9 offense, 5 defense, 2 specialists) from a 2018 squad that reached the program’s fourth straight bowl game. USF will feature a new offensive coordinator in Kerwin Bell, who led Valdosta State to an NCAA Division II national championship with the nation’s top scoring offense (52.0 ppg) last year.

Bell will take the reins of an offense that returns starting quarterback Blake Barnett (2,710 passing yards), first team all-conference tight end Mitchell Wilcox (540 receiving yards), tailbacks Jordan Cronkrite (1,121 rushing yards) and Johnny Ford (787 rushing yards), leading receiver Randall St. Felix (679 receiving yards) and all five starters along the offensive line from the Gasparilla Bowl.

USF’s defensive returners are led by second-leading tackler Greg Reaves (89 tackles), who is expected to return to his defensive end position after starting the final seven games of 2018 at linebacker. Honorable mention all-conference cornerback Mike Hampton returns after posting the second-most pass defenses (18) in program history, as do safety Nick Roberts, who led the team with three interceptions and was fourth with 72 tackles, and defensive end Kirk Livingstone, who tied for the team lead with 10 tackles for loss and was fifth with 56 tackles.

USF will play seven games in Raymond James Stadium during the 2019 season, highlighted by visits from preseason top 25-ranked Wisconsin to open the season (Aug. 30) and BYU (Oct. 12) in the non-conference slate and three straight November home games vs. conference contenders Temple (Nov. 7), Cincinnati (Nov. 16) and Memphis (Nov. 23).





USF Bulls Spring Football Game Set for Saturday April 13

(Tampa, FL) The USF Bulls Spring Football Game will once again return to Corbett Stadium on the USF campus on Saturday, April 13 with a 1 p.m. kickoff.

The spring game is free to the public and will cap off a day of entertainment on campus that begins with a street festival starting at 11AM outside the stadium. Normal pregame tailgating activities will be allowed in campus lots. Fans are also encouraged to bring blankets and utilize seating areas on the grass berms surrounding the playing surface as a large crowd is expected.

Fans will get their first look at a 2019 Bulls team that returns 16 starters. USF’s third season under head coach Charlie Strong will feature a new offensive coordinator in Kerwin Bell, who led Valdosta State to an NCAA Division II national championship with the nation’s top scoring offense (52.0 ppg) last year.

Bell will take the reins of an offense that returns starting quarterback Blake Barnett (2,710 passing yards), first team all-conference tight end Mitchell Wilcox (540 receiving yards), tailbacks Jordan Cronkrite (1,121 rushing yards) and Johnny Ford (787 rushing yards), leading receiver Randall St. Felix (679 receiving yards) and all five starters along the offensive line.

The defensive returners are led by second-leading tackler Greg Reaves (89 tackles), who is expected to return to his defensive end position after starting the final seven games of 2018 at linebacker. Honorable mention all-conference cornerback Mike Hampton returns after posting the second-most pass defenses (18) in program history, as do safety Nick Roberts, who led the team with three interceptions and was fourth with 72 tackles, and defensive end Kirk Livingstone, who tied for the team lead with 10 tackles for loss and was fifth with 56 tackles.

The Bulls will take the field for the first of 15 spring practices on March 19 and will practice for four weeks leading up to the spring game.

USF will play seven games in Raymond James Stadium during the 2019 season, highlighted by visits from preseason top 25-ranked Wisconsin to open the season (Aug. 30) and BYU (Oct. 12) in the non-conference slate and three straight November home games vs. conference contenders Temple (Nov. 7), Cincinnati (Nov. 16) and Memphis (Nov. 23).





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.





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.