First of all, let me wish everyone a belated Merry Christmas and happy New Year. A special thank you to Nick, Connor and the whole TDS crew for manning this ship while I was gone.
I’ve been unplugged from the USF Matrix for nearly three weeks and honestly, it’s best thing I could’ve done. I feel refreshed and happier than I was just a month ago. But, man alive did I miss a whole bunch of tea (#transferSZN) during my sabbatical. Let’s try to get myself caught up.
If I missed something, let me know in the comments or on Twitter (@BullsNathanSBN, @StampedeSBN).
Turns out, I was missing seven other players. Literally the day after I leave, Joey Knight of the Tampa Bay Times—a newspaper—reported that 11 players and four coaches would not be returning to USF next season.
- WR Darnell Salomon
- WR Deangelo Antoine
- WR DeVontres Dukes
- RB Elijah Mack
- RB Duran Bell
- DB Donelle Thomas
- DB Naytron Culpepper (Had already announced transfer)
- DT Brandon Boyce ( I reported that)
- DT Armon Williams
- DL Marquies Price
- OL Jeremiah Stafford
USF head coach Charlie Strong told the Tampa Bay Times after the blowout loss to Marshall in the bowl game:
“We don’t like it. I’m telling you right now, we’re going to clean up this whole program. A lot of guys will be leaving. We need a good washing.”
Seven of the 11 players dismissed due to a violation of team rules were brought in by Strong. Seven. The program needs to get a “good washing” due to the players the head coach recruited and brought in to play for him. Got it.
On top of that, defensive ends coach Damon Cogdell and DB coach Blue Adams were dismissed before the bowl game. 247sports reporter Dakotah Wilson asked USF officials the morning of the bowl game if Cogdell was still with the team and didn’t get a response. I asked after the game and was told they couldn’t answer that question.
Cogdell was the primary recruiter of the Carol City trio of WR Kevaughn Dingle, Thomas, and Culpepper—all of which aren’t on the team anymore. He was also the primary contact for Carol City defensive tackle Malcolm Ray who flipped to Florida State on signing day. Cogdell coached all four players in high school.
Adams...well...Adams literally tried to fight a player. Kinda cut and dry on that one tbh.
Quarterbacks Brett Kean and Chris Oladokun Decide to Transfer
With starting quarterback Blake Barnett nursing a low leg injury after the Temple game, USF coaches decide to give both CO and BK a shot during the C. game. Then, while Barnett is trying hard to rehab to get back in time to play in the bowl game, Oladokun takes pretty much all of the snaps with the first team during bowl practice. He gets yanked after two (2) series for Barnett.
This coaching staff jerked Kean and Oladokun around since January and I’m frankly surprised they didn’t transfer sooner. I’m going to miss both of them. Brett was a staple at baseball games and told me in July how much he loved the school and how badly he wanted to be here. Chris was the guy who impressed me during my first year covering the team. He had a rocket launcher for an arm and I’ll never forget him putting former LB/DE Jimmy Bayes on skates during the 2017 spring game.
Thank you both for everything.
Future Offensive Coordinator
On December 5th offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert took the McNeese State head coach job (and his BFF offensive line coach Matt Mattox), freeing the Bulls of his predictable playcalling and lack of imagination. Special teams/tight ends coach Justin Burke didn’t call a bad game for USF in the Gasparilla Bowl. He used wide receiver Tyre McCants as a damn Wildcat quarterback and it worked.
It’s now January 9th and we’re still without an OC (and DB coach, OL coach, and DE coach). From what I can gather, D-II National Champion Valdosta State head coach Kerwin Bell, Princeton offensive coordinator Sean Gleeson, and an unnamed third coach (it’s not Shaun King or Justin Burke) are in vying for the position.
Both Bell and Gleeson put up #NUMBERS offensively this season for their respective teams and you can’t really go wrong with either one. I’m excited for a fun offense again. If Charlie allows it.
MEN’S BASKETBALL Y’ALL
On October 15 I tweeted this. On January 9, USF men’s basketball is 11-3 and facing a putrid Tulane (4-10) team tonight. The Bulls just have to win four more games (depending on if the Charlotte game gets rescheduled) to finish .500 during the regular season. After tonight, USF has one more game against Tulane, plus two games versus ECU. Over .500 and an NIT, or CBI bid is very much in play.
And the three losses have been by a combined nine points, with two coming on buzzer beaters. Alexis Yetna is bae and recorded his seventh double-double against Tulsa. Guard David Collins had a wonderful second half against UConn last week to lead the comeback. This team isn’t pretty to watch (see: free throws), but they play hard and care. That’s all we can ask for at this point. If they keep winning, our expectations are going to soon change for the first time in a very long time (maybe ever).
Women’s Basketball: If They Didn’t Have Bad Luck, They’d Have No Luck At All
Silvia Serrat (Season), Kitija Laksa (Season), Elisa Pinzan (nine games), Beatriz Jordao (Season) and Laura Ferreira (TBD) have all missed significant time this season due to injuries. This is the Season From Hell injury-wise for head coach Jose Fernandez.
Right before the New Year, USF finally gets five-star Latvian Luize Septe enrolled to give a shot of life for the Bulls who had lost two-straight games in agonizing fashion, only to have it crushed five days later when it was announced Jordao would miss the rest of the season.
This team was poised to make a solid run in the NCAA tournament before the basketball gods said “Nah.” The Bulls had just nine healthy scholarship players for the C. game last night and still made it game midway through the fourth quarter.
Men’s basketball has more wins (11) than women’s basketball (10) this late into the season for the first time since the 2009-2010 season when the men had nine wins and the women had eight.
It’s good to be back.