After getting through an emotionally draining two weeks with the departure of former head coach Willie Taggart and the naming of Charlie Strong as his successor, the football team took to the field Monday to prepare for their Birmingham Bowl matchup December 29 against the South Carolina Gamecocks (6-6, 3-5 SEC).
Senior left tackle Kofi Amichia is no stranger to head coach turnover during his time at USF, going through Skip Holtz, Taggart, and now interim head coach T.J. Weist. Amichia said the team is just worried about getting their 11th win of the year.
“A few years ago, we were 2-10. The record is flipped right now,” Amichia said. “But we definitely want to get that 11th win, most in program history. That’s something I can look back about 20 years from now and say, ‘Yeah, we set a record back then and I was a part of that.’”
The defense will surely look different next year under Strong, and defensive tackle Deadrin Senat will be a big part of anything Strong will try to do to fix the problems that plagued the unit this year. But for now, he says he’s just focused on South Carolina.
“We’re trying to not take anything for granted... take the opportunity ahead and go out there and have fun and just soak it in,” Senat said. “We don’t know what will happen next year, we’re just trying to live in the moment.”
Strong was at practice today as an observer and Weist, who is possibly auditioning for a job, thinks it’s very important for him to be out there.
“He needs to be around the team (and) our team needs him to be around,” Weist said. “He gives us another set of eyes and I talked to a little bit while I was on the field. He’s just evaluating the team. He’s a great influence for us.”
The music was loud and the players were loose during practice joking around with each other, so hopefully that bodes well for the bowl game.
Kicker Emilio Nadelman wasn’t in pads and did not practice today. Weist said he was “day-to-day” but did say that he has kicked some and “will see coming next week how much he can do.” I’m still standing on the “Nadelman really injured himself and isn’t close to coming back and won’t play in the bowl game.”
In Other News:
Four-star safety Josh Dunn announced on Twitter early this morning that he will not enroll at USF in January.
Can't tell you why exactly right now but I can definitely tell you that God revealed this to me that I wasn't suppose to be at USF— Joshua Dunn (@JoshDunn21) December 19, 2016
He went on a bit of Twitter rampage, letting us in on his decision to change schools, check that out.
Hello somebody you at me how about you talk about the coach that bought out his five year deal to upgrade to Oregon— Joshua Dunn (@JoshDunn21) December 19, 2016
Do I blame him no, he trying to reach his dreams and I am too and it wasn't working there and he was one of only coaches in my corner— Joshua Dunn (@JoshDunn21) December 19, 2016
I had a 4.2 GPA in high school so school wasn't problem if anybody is speculating that or jump to conclusions to that— Joshua Dunn (@JoshDunn21) December 19, 2016
Appreciate all the love and support from USF especially Dr. Issac for helping me through the process my psychiatrist was real good— Joshua Dunn (@JoshDunn21) December 19, 2016
Hopefully Dunn gets to a better place and does well.
That makes two of the top three signing from the 2016 recruiting class not to make it on campus for the Bulls. The other was defensive end Tramal Ivy, who enrolled at the University of West Georgia last week. Throw in DB Armunz Matthews as well, and that’s three defectors from the 2016 class... and three more scholarships for Strong to use on the recruiting trail.