Multiple sources have told The Daily Stampede that South Florida Bulls head coach Charlie Strong has turned playcalling duties for the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl over to special teams/tight ends coach Justin Burke in the wake of offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert taking the McNeese State head coaching job last week.
Some #USF news I’m hearing:— Nathan Bond (@BullsNathanSBN) December 11, 2018
Special Teams/Tight Ends Coach Justin Burke will call the plays in the Gasparilla Bowl, per multiple sources.
It was a surprise to hear any name other than running backs coach and TDS favorite Shaun King named as the playcaller, but especially Burke’s name after his less than stellar time as the special teams coach over the last two seasons for USF, but tight end Mitch Wilcox has flourished this season under his tutelage.
As a senior, Burke was Strong’s quarterback in 2010 when the Louisville Cardinals defeated the Southern Miss Golden Eagles 31-28 in the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl. He completed 17-of-28 passes for 178 yards and two scores.
After graduating, Burke has been on staff with Strong every season since then. He was an offensive grad assistant for Strong in 2011 and 2012 before becoming an offensive quality control coach in 2013. He was an offensive assistant for two years at Texas then became a quality control special assistant, working with the tight ends in 2016.
Mark Ennis, who has covered Louisville Cardinals athletics for years as the host of The Drive on ESPN Louisville, told me Burke was able to convince Strong to let QB Teddy Bridgewater run freely in the 2013 bowl game versus Miami and go no-huddle, which at the time, Strong was very opposed to do.
Here's why I like Justin Burke. He got Charlie to break his tendencies and habits the chances he had to run the offense at Louisville. That's no small feat.— Mark Ennis (@MarkEnnis) December 11, 2018
I think we can all agree getting Strong to change his tendencies is very difficult and if Burke was able to do that at Louisville, he may be able to do so again during the bowl game.
Lord knows I’ve been at the front of the Burke criticism as the special teams coordinator, but let’s give him a chance. This game will not decide whether Strong keeps Burke on as the offensive coordinator for 2019. I fully expect Strong to find an OC who is not on staff at the moment. And that’s OK and this is coming from the biggest Shaun King fan in the world.