USF football reserve offensive lineman Brooks Larkin announced via Twitter Friday that he would be hanging up the cleats citing “recent events” and a desire to focus on the “next 40 years as opposed to the next two.”
Tucked in at the end of the post Larkin added this:
“I will also say that I am extremely disappointed in the USF coaches and players. The offensive line coach [Matt Mattox] is a liar and a coward who refuses to return calls or meet with me. He also plays who he wants rather than the best player for the job. The USF community derseves better than that.”
When reached for comment USF declined to make a statement other than saying they were aware of Larkin’s tweet.
I reached out to Larkin via Twitter DM’s and he helped shed some light on his side of things. I hope to speak with head coach Charlie Strong and Mattox after practice today.
“The very first spring that he was here, we had gotten into an argument a few times about me starting RG and he decided to move [redacted] in front of me because I wasn’t performing well enough against [Deadrin] Senat...Fast forward to Fall camp, where I was named the starting RG until three days before the San Jose State game and all of a sudden I was moved to second string so that [Michael] Galati could play center and [Cam] Ruff moved to guard. That was a stupid move.”
[Ed. Note: To be fair, it was a stupid move to put your Rimington Trophy Watch List candidate at RG]
“This spring I was promised that there would be a competition at center. I never got any reps with the starters (which doesn’t seem like a competition to me) and I asked Mattox why that was and he said I hadn’t earned it, which was a statement against his promise of giving me an opportunity regardless.”
When asked if there was any other moment that stuck out between Mattox and the team Larkin had this to say:
“During the Birmingham Bowl, after failing on a 4th and short again at a pivotal point in the game, two prominent offensive players both came off the field saying ‘man why do we run up the middle, the wideouts are wide open! Get them the ball!’ To which Mattox said ‘Why, so you can fumble again?’”
Larkin states he confronted Mattox about this and the coach apologized to the player soon after.
Our pal Joey Knight mentioned in his story that Larkin was scolded by Mattox and other coaches on Tuesday at the end of practice and the offensive lineman told me that “was the final straw.”
“I was at LG and a 3 technique crossed all the way to the RT and I stayed with him as best I could but he ran into the RB and the coaches flipped out about how I give no effort and I’m selfish and how he would give me all he has but I’m too selfish,” Larkin said.
Larkin skipped practice on Thursday because “I had no motivation to play under Mattox at that point.” Strong then called Larkin and set up a meeting to discuss why he missed practice and Larkin said the head coach was very professional about the entire situation and asked the Bradenton native to speak with Mattox and tell him everything that was on his mind.
He states that he waited for 25 minutes outside the coach’s office before finally giving up because he had to get to class. Larkin said Strong told Mattox that he was waiting for him at least twice.
This is squarely in he said/he said territory, but when a player calls out a coach we have to report on it. Larkin’s bio page had already been scrubbed from the USF site.
He appeared in six games in 2017.
We hope to get a clearer picture on what really happened, but don’t count on it.