By Leo Haggerty


The Green & Gold held their first spring practice today.  To say that’s a major accomplishment is an understatement and let me give you examples as to why I make this statement.

Consider this if you would.  Jeff Scott was hired as the new USF Head Football Coach and proceeded to have one day of spring practice before the pandemic shut everything down that was football related in March.

Then, the Bulls had to endure the countless number of players who were held out of practice due to catching Covid or being exposed to the coronavirus.  Each week, the game day list of the players that were “inactive” due to illness or expose approached or exceeded double digits in number.  That disrupts continuity to say the least because some of these players were designated as NO PLAY the day before or the day of the tilt.  Not a good situation.

Add to that the uncertainty of who and where their next contest would be.  Some games were cancelled and rescheduled.  Some were postponed and a new opponent, like Notre Dame, appeared on the horizon.  Some games were postponed, like Florida Atlantic and Navy, and not rescheduled at all.

That led to a 2020 season that produced just one win in the opener that was followed by eight straight defeats.  Not a great opening act for Coach Scott along with his staff and players to say the least.

With all that being said, the 2020 football season is history.  The 2021 campaign begins today and I had a chance to ask the South Florida Head Honcho a couple questions as to what his expectations are for the spring.

Below are his comments.  Enjoy.

LH : Do you still get goosebumps on the first day of spring practice?

JS : Yes.  I woke up this morning at 4 am.  I set my alarm for 5:30 but I woke up at 4 am.  Part of it was my 6-month old woke me up a little bit.  Usually, when that happens, my wife will help with that and I’ll be able to go back to sleep for another hour.  This morning, when I woke up at 4, my mind was racing and I was just excited.  I couldn’t wait to get out there and see these guys.  It’s been several months since we’ve been out there.  I’ve seen the hard work that they put in the weight room and I want to see that carry over.  Yeah, right now, I feel like it’s 6 o’clock in the evening because I got up so early.  Today was awesome.  I’m just really, really proud of our guys and so excited to start with spring practice.

LH : When you look at the season, and look at what you been through, and you came out of this.  They say if something doesn’t kill you, you get stronger.  How have you come out of this as a person and as a program.  

JS : Yes, I said this before and I really mean it.  Adversity creates growth and change and, personally for myself, I needed some growth as a new first year head coach .  I needed to change some things.  I think it was not fun going through but it was a necessary step.  I think the exact same thing for our growth.  We need a lot of growth.  We need some change from where we were when I got here last January.  That’s the biggest thing that I take away from it.  It’s not fun going through it but you just feel like you are just so much further along for going through it.  As coaches, we just want to fast forward some of this process.  It takes time.  It takes time to get the accountability right.  To get the discipline right.  To get the overall buy in of the players.  These guys have seen a lot of coaches in three or four years.  Yes, they hear you but they have to watch your actions so they will believe to buy in.  I felt like our guys have done that over the past year.  I am, really, encouraged by the buy in that we have from our guys right now.  You watch the practice, and you watch the way the guys work out, you would never know that we’re coming off the season that we had last year.  I’m just really proud of our start.