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Cancer patient's words keep motivating

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TAMPA - After two words helped inspire them to victory over Auburn, the Bulls will now carry the motto at all times.

The entire USF team received "FINISH STRONG" wrist bands, a saying inspired from alum Jeff Wagner's letter to the team.

The 44-year-old battling leukemia served as motivation for the team, and following the 26-23 overtime win, coach Jim Leavitt mentioned Wagner's message.

"Finish strong, finish, it's something we've been saying all year long," defensive coordinator Wally Burnham said. "But that really picked up after Auburn, finish strong. The kids really picked up on it and have stressed that."

The gray bands feature white lettering with a black outline.

"We just got them made, and it's a fun little thing," Leavitt said. "That's it, finish strong."

Quarterback Matt Grothe said they were in players' lockers when they returned from practice Monday.

“It’s been our team motto this year,†Grothe said.

Grothe wears a yellow Livestrong bracelet on his right wrist and said it’s been something of a good luck charm since his youngest brother, David, gave it to him at his high school graduation. His first one was torn during a two-a-day practice, and Grothe’s father went to get him a new one, delivering it by the end of practice.

“That’s my biggest luck charm right there,†he said.

USF has no immediate plans to produce the "FINISH STRONG" bracelets for sale to fans or the general public.

[glow=green,2,300]GREEN OUT: A student initiative is attempting the first "Green Out," with all fans in attendance wearing green to the West Virginia game Sept.28.

After seeing the effect Auburn’s crowd played on Sept. 8, the Bulls are hoping to start the tradition at Raymond James Stadium.

“It’s pretty intimidating to see that many people wearing the colors and that’s all you can see the whole time,†Grothe said. “It’d be awesome to have everyone wearing green. It stands out and with a good crowd; it’d be pretty cool if everyone wore green.â€Â[/glow]

Greg Auman, Times staff writer

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Really makes me wanna start the "Finish"..., "Strong" cheer Saturday...  (But that's a different thread.)

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