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USF Football 8/26 Press Conference: Game Week

Coach Strong and Blake Barnett spoke to the media.

Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl - Marshall v South Florida Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Coach Strong and starting QB Blake Barnett both addressed the media after a morning practice on Monday.

Both The head coach and signal caller praised their opening opponent Wisconsin. Strong said that the Badgers have an identity on both sides of the ball. Offensively they want to run right at you with all-everything back Jonathan Taylor, and their defense is full of long, athletic players.

They also spoke about the great opportunity that comes with playing a program like Wisconsin during Week 1 on national TV. They were both excited for the challenge, with Barnett saying that it will have a different feel than opening against Elon last year.

Another common refrain between the two was the improved practice habits of this year’s squad. Strong said that last year’s team had some wasted practices whereas this year, they have had a great camp with no wasted practices. The third-year USF head man credited senior leadership on both sides of the ball for the improvement in this area. Barnett echoed Strong’s sentiment saying that last year there would be guys on “cruise control” during practice, but this year has been totally different.


  • Strong is still waiting to hear from the NCAA on the eligibility of KJ Sails. He stated that the NCAA meets Tuesdays and Thursdays, so he expects a decision soon.
  • If Sails is unable to go, Bentlee Sanders looks to get the starting nod opposite Mike Hampton. Strong singled out Sanders and defensive lineman Kirk Livingstone as guys that had great camps. If Sails is eligible, Sanders would likely start at Nickel.
  • Strong said that the team is relatively healthy, outside of Nico Sawtelle. Strong stated that he got a little banged up at practice last week. Sawtelle is listed on the two deep at MLB, but it remains to be seen if he will play in game one. Strong said Terrence Horne was ready to play.
  • USF released a game one depth chart.