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Trib: USF's Shankweiler knows how to walk the walk


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USF's Shankweiler knows how to walk the walk

By SCOTT CARTER

scarter@tampatrib.com


40968_0407bulls.jpg

USF offensive line coach Steve Shankweiler works with his charges at practice Wednesday afternoon.


As the group of offensive linemen head to a distant corner of the practice field, their coach hobbles toward their direction a good 30 yards behind.

Steve Shankweiler, carrying the sort of limp that hurts just from watching him walk, eventually arrives. Once he does, he is ready to unload some of the lessons he has learned during a 30-year coaching career.

But before he gets to the huddle of offensive linemen, some of the players chuckle as he wobbles their way reminiscent of Donald Duck bouncing toward a pond.

"He's a different kind of coach than we've had before ... in many different ways," senior tackle Jamar Bass said. "He's a pretty cool coach."

When asked to describe Shankweiler's unorthodox walk, Bass passes.

"I don't want to comment on that," Bass chuckled, unwilling to put the limp into words.

The fact Shankweiler, 57, is out on the field at all is a testament to his love of coaching. A little more than two months ago, he was in a North Carolina hospital bed preparing to undergo a complete left hip replacement.

"I was in a lot of pain," Shankweiler said. "It had been bothering me for years. Now I feel like I'm 18 again on the left side."

When Skip Holtz left East Carolina in January to take over USF's football program, Shankweiler was one of the East Carolina assistants he instantly targeted to bring with him to Tampa.

However, he had to wait.

Shankweiler, who worked with Holtz on South Carolina's staff in 2004 and followed him to East Carolina when Holtz took over the Pirates in 2005, was considered a candidate to replace Holtz. He also had to recover from the serious hip surgery.

When Rufus McNeill was hired to replace Holtz at East Carolina, McNeill opted to bring in his own staff, leaving Shankweiler looking for a job.

Holtz officially announced his hiring on Feb. 22, the final addition to his inaugural staff at USF. Despite being only a few weeks out of surgery, Shankweiler immediately dived into the job - limp and all.

"He is in some pain moving around," Holtz said. "The limp and everything that you see is not from the surgery he had back in January. That's from the other deteriorating hip. It certainly affects the way he gets around. It hasn't affected his energy or enthusiasm on the field."

Senior center Sampson Genus likes Shankweiler's approach, one mixed with humor, patience and a strong focus on discipline. The Bulls are learning new fundamentals and block techniques since Shankweiler arrived.

"He's teaching us different styles and a new terminology," Genus said. "We don't have it all down yet, but once we do, I think we'll be a better offensive line."

"I really like the way the guys have responded to what we're trying to get done," Shankweiler said. "They have a great work ethic and have shown a willingness to work hard and try to get better."

Soon after spring practice ends, Shankweiler will head back into the hospital to have his right hip completely replaced. He hopes by the time fall camp starts in August, his entertaining limp will be gone.

"He is really glad he got the one done, but he realizes just how important it is that he gets the other one done," Holtz said.

Once he does, Shankweiler should be able to keep up with those hefty offensive linemen a lot easier.

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There goes that word again. DISCIPLINE! Got to love hearing they're focus on that. When this coaching staff watch last season tapes, they had to be sicken. Kids sounds like they're happy to be tought proper technics. Hope they absorb everything.

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I am looking forward to this fall and a new team.

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There goes that word again. DISCIPLINE! Got to love hearing they're focus on that. When this coaching staff watch last season tapes, they had to be sicken. Kids sounds like they're happy to be tought proper technics. Hope they absorb everything.

discipline and football go hand and hand

discipline and success in any field go hand and hand

in hind sight leavitt and crew didnt do to bad considering they had little discipline but that is wjhy leavitt never won at any level

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