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Bulls In For: 'What's That? My Ears Are Ringing!'


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Published Wednesday, September 5, 2007

SOUTH FLORIDA AT AUBURN

Bulls In For: 'What's That? My Ears Are Ringing!'

By Rick Brown

The Ledger

rick.brown@theledger.com         

Wednesday, September 5, 2007 [article tools]

TAMPA | Courtney Denson knows first-hand how loud it can get in Jordan-Hare Stadium, home of the No. 17-ranked Auburn Tigers, South Florida's football team next opponent.

The senior wide receiver was a defensive back for the Tigers in his redshirt year in 2003 before transferring to USF. This week, Denson is serving as the unofficial consultant to teammates as to what to expect when the Bulls play there Saturday.

There's the pregame ritual in which an eagle flies into the stadium, sending the crowd into a frenzy.

The team has one nickname - Tigers. War Eagle is the team's battle cry.

"I remember running out of the tunnel and you see all those people out there," Denson said of Auburn's entrance into the stadium. "I remember thinking, 'This is college football, right here.' They have a lot of great fans who love football.

"It's going to be a little bit emotional because I know a lot of guys on the team, but I'm treating it like another game," Denson said. "We have to stay focused. If we take their momentum away, the crowd will be quiet. If they get that momentum going, the crowd will be loud."

The crowd noise could play a significant role.

This will be the first meeting between Auburn and USF. The Bulls are 0-4 in previous meetings with SEC schools.

USF has played and won some big games on the road - notably at West Virginia in tough Morgantown.

The Auburn game will be different not only because of the size of the stadium (87,451) but also because it is a night game. Since 2000, Auburn is 12-1 in home night games.

A lot of schools pipe in crowd noise to try to simulate an opposing stadium. USF coach Jim Leavitt isn't a huge fan of that.

"What can you do?" he asked. "Everybody says you get crowd noise in there but I don't know if we've got big enough speakers. It's difficult. We've bought in the noise before and it just manages to hurt my ears and I can't enjoy practice and I lose my focus on practice. Then we can't get ready.

"So I fear, well, if I lose focus in the game (because of the crowd noise), then well maybe, I don't know, but at least we practiced well and maybe it'll work itself out.

"We've played against some other teams and we haven't done anything and done well," he said. "I don't know. We'll figure it out. I don't have that answer.

"I hear it all the time, around the country that's the big thing: 'Headlines: They're pumping in crowd noise.' All it does is give me a headache. And I don't enjoy it. And then I don't enjoy the next day because I've got a headache.

"So I really don't want to do that. I don't know. I don't have the answer. It's just like, how do you prepare for cold days? I don't know."

Quarterback Matt Grothe, who completed 23-of-39 passes for 238 yards and two touchdowns in Saturday night's 28-13 victory over Elon, said the key will be starting early.

"We have to score early and make big plays early," the Lake Gibson product said. "They seemed to have a little problem if the team started off good. The crowd is not into it as much."

TAMPA | Courtney Denson knows first-hand how loud it can get in Jordan-Hare Stadium, home of the No. 17-ranked Auburn Tigers, South Florida's football team next opponent.

The senior wide receiver was a defensive back for the Tigers in his redshirt year in 2003 before transferring to USF. This week, Denson is serving as the unofficial consultant to teammates as to what to expect when the Bulls play there Saturday.

There's the pregame ritual in which an eagle flies into the stadium, sending the crowd into a frenzy.

The team has one nickname - Tigers. War Eagle is the team's battle cry.

"I remember running out of the tunnel and you see all those people out there," Denson said of Auburn's entrance into the stadium. "I remember thinking, 'This is college football, right here.' They have a lot of great fans who love football.

"It's going to be a little bit emotional because I know a lot of guys on the team, but I'm treating it like another game," Denson said. "We have to stay focused. If we take their momentum away, the crowd will be quiet. If they get that momentum going, the crowd will be loud."

The crowd noise could play a significant role.

This will be the first meeting between Auburn and USF. The Bulls are 0-4 in previous meetings with SEC schools.

USF has played and won some big games on the road - notably at West Virginia in tough Morgantown.

The Auburn game will be different not only because of the size of the stadium (87,451) but also because it is a night game. Since 2000, Auburn is 12-1 in home night games.

A lot of schools pipe in crowd noise to try to simulate an opposing stadium. USF coach Jim Leavitt isn't a huge fan of that.

"What can you do?" he asked. "Everybody says you get crowd noise in there but I don't know if we've got big enough speakers. It's difficult. We've bought in the noise before and it just manages to hurt my ears and I can't enjoy practice and I lose my focus on practice. Then we can't get ready.

"So I fear, well, if I lose focus in the game (because of the crowd noise), then well maybe, I don't know, but at least we practiced well and maybe it'll work itself out.

"We've played against some other teams and we haven't done anything and done well," he said. "I don't know. We'll figure it out. I don't have that answer.

"I hear it all the time, around the country that's the big thing: 'Headlines: They're pumping in crowd noise.' All it does is give me a headache. And I don't enjoy it. And then I don't enjoy the next day because I've got a headache.

"So I really don't want to do that. I don't know. I don't have the answer. It's just like, how do you prepare for cold days? I don't know."

Quarterback Matt Grothe, who completed 23-of-39 passes for 238 yards and two touchdowns in Saturday night's 28-13 victory over Elon, said the key will be starting early.

"We have to score early and make big plays early," the Lake Gibson product said. "They seemed to have a little problem if the team started off good. The crowd is not into it as much."

http://www.theledger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070905/NEWS/709050523/1002&template=printpicart

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