10 Down, Two to Go.
And what do we really know about this USF football team?
It's been a tough season. A tough season for the players, a tough season for the coaches and a tough season for the fans. This is USF's second trip into adversity in two years and unlike last year they weren't able to snap out of it after three games.
More than anything it's been a tough season for bandwagoners, like the jackass who started the JimLeavittMustGo.com website with his primary complaints being USF's bowl appearances and the canceled series with UCF. I almost feel like I should give anonymous jackass any extra traffic but judging by the action on the message board he isn't riling up the masses.
For the rest of you that are unsure, Jim Leavitt has to stay. He's a good coach, a very good administrator and a good face of the program. He has been committed to USF, moreso than you could ever imagine given some of the overtures he's received in the past five years. He's also not going to be easily replaced. All the big time assistants stand to make more, than Leavitt with more attractive job openings. You think Charlie Strong is coming to USF for Leavitt's salary? No. Major Applewhite is a possibility but he's still an unknown.
What about retreads? Does Tommy Bowden or Phil Fulmer really excite you? I didn't think so. Worse yet those types of coaches take the job moreso for the financial parachutes than any devotion for the program. I mean Lou Holtz liked South Carolina but he LOVED Notre Dame and the results speak for themselves. You ever see Holtz sporting a Gamecocks sweater on College Football Live? I didn't think so. That being said if Auburn turfs Tommy Tuberville I would totally rethink that.
Hot prospect coaches from the mid-majors? The only ones I'd even consider are Brady Hoke (Ball State) and Chris Petersen (Boise State). And in both cases USF would officially become a "stepping stone" school.
That being said there are plenty of things Leavitt can (and should do) to right this ship before things fester and get worse (see FSU from 2004-2006).
* Restructure the coaching staff. Yes this means he's going to have to get rid of a few (especially one, you can guess which one) and replace them with some sharper assistants. Guys who can educate, recruit and motivate and guys who will work hard...as hard as the head coach does.
* Install a more pro-style offense. It just works better with guys like Mike Ford, Jamar Taylor, Richard Kelly, Jesse Hester, the offensive line, etc. etc. Matt Grothe is a versatile football player and he can run any offense with a good level of success. He, like anyone, wants to be surrounded with good weapons. He has good weapons but they are stuck in an offense that fails to utilize them on a consistent basis.
* Change the recruiting philosophy. USF has to slim down on the JuCos and the disgruntled transfers. JuCo kids are fine, especially if the school originally signed them and placed them in these situations. But otherwise there are a TON of great football players in Florida and while I don't expect the staff to beat Urban Meyer head-to-head on too many kids right now, I think they have let a lot of players who would have been perfect for this program end up in West Virginia and Rutgers and Clemson, etc. etc. Pipelines to schools like Pahokee, Lakeland, Pine Forest, Apopka, etc. have to be established. There also has to be a better gameplan to recruit in Hillsborough county. Signing Ryne Giddens would be a great start there.
Ok, what else was I supposed to do. Oh yeah, preview for UConn.
Good news is USF isn't facing a team that will try to win three in a row on them this week. UConn is going to be tough though despite the soon-to-be-released news that their head coach, Randy Edsall, will be leaving to take the job at Syracuse. That's just speculation, but I think it's happening regardless of his denials. Guess what, coaches are full of shit.
When UConn Has the Ball: Donald Brown has been straight-up ridiculous for the Huskies this year -- gaining over 100 yards in all but one game and is on pace for over 1,800 yards this season. Why has Brown been so effective? Because the quarterback absolutely sucks. This three-headed monster of crap -- Tyler Lorenzen, Zach Frazer and Cody Endres has a total of three (3) touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Even UCF quarterbacks think these guys stink.
When USF Has the Ball: Expect a lot of booing because the fans rightfully can't stand Greg Gregory screwing up anymore. With Matt Grothe being hobbled it effectively takes around most of Gregory's post-September playbook. So the good thing to come out of this might be more touches for the running back. However, there's a good chance UConn might try to take the running game away in which case Gregory will just quit and go exclusively to the passing offense. I guess he assumes no team tries to take the pass away.
He Said It: "We've just had a lot of bad breaks, more than usual. It's hard to explain. You get a tipped ball and it gets intercepted. I think it's the third week in a row we've had a tipped ball that's been intercepted." -- USF quarterback Matt Grothe.