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Mama_Bull

Bulls ready to turn page

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Bulls ready to turn page

Posted September 03, 2010 by Scott Carter

Updated Sep 03, 2010 at 08:57 PM

TAMPA— They have watched one coach’s tumultuous exit and another one’s hyped arrival. Many have tried to remain loyal to one and accepting of the other.

Since they celebrated an International Bowl victory in the comfort of the Rogers Centre on a cold, snowy Canadian afternoon eight months ago, University of South Florida football players have experienced the discomfort of a public soap opera none could have imagined when they first walked onto campus.

Tonight at Raymond James Stadium, the spotlight finally returns to the field when the Bulls open the season against Stony Brook in the debut of first-year coach Skip Holtz.

Kickoff — and a new chapter in the program’s history — can’t get here fast enough.

“We’ve gone through a lot as a team and we’ve stuck together through the ups and downs, on and off the field,†sophomore quarterback B.J. Daniels said. “Right now, we feel like we’re together. The only team that can beat us is us.

“We’re done with all the talking and practicing.â€

In the aftermath of former coach Jim Leavitt’s firing and the hiring of Holtz a week later, the Bulls were thrust into a situation that garnered national attention and raised countless questions, including whether Holtz could reunite a team that had some cracks in its foundation.

After taking over, Holtz allowed the players their space, focusing more on promoting the program and giving it a new identity.

Slowly, as summer rolled around and fall camp arrived, Holtz and his staff began the process of placing their stamp on the Bulls, highlighted by the team’s trip to Vero Beach for a portion of fall camp last month.

No one knows yet what that transformation will produce on the field, but from listening to the players, the past has been put to rest.

“I like this team,†senior running back Mo Plancher said. “Our goal is to win a Big East championship.â€

Junior offensive lineman Jeremiah Warren isn’t concerned about a major drop-off from last year’s 8-5 record and a fifth consecutive bowl trip.

“I think we are as good as we have ever been, if not better,†Warren said. “I believe if we focus, we can do anything.â€

While ticket sales for Holtz’s debut have been lackluster — USF officials expect about 35,000 fans to turn out — that has as much to do with the opponent as anything based on comments on fan message boards.

There are also numerous questions about what kind of team the Bulls are after losing six defensive starters and four of their top five receivers from last season — two (A.J. Love and Sterling Griffin) to injuries that are expected to keep them sidelined until at least October.

Questions and all, Holtz wants to finally put the emphasis on the players.

“Whether we’re good enough or not is irrelevant,†he said. “We have what we have; we are where we are. This team excites me.

“As a new staff, with a new team … I’m excited about this. Really, it’s going to give us an opportunity to see where we are as a football team.â€

The players are pumped to start a new chapter, too, in what is the 153rd game of the program’s history and the first without Leavitt in charge.

Daniels said there was a noticeable buzz around campus once the team returned from Vero Beach and classes began.

Holtz said he could tell the excitement was building among the players in how loud the meeting rooms were when the coaches entered this week.

“It’s finally here,†Holtz said. “We are a very young football team. I think everybody is kind of wide-eyed and ready to get into the season.â€

Warren, who didn’t blink when he said he thinks this year’s team could be the best of his career, explained why when asked what he sees as the Bulls’ strength.

“It’s unity,†he said. “We’ve come together as a team. We’re more disciplined now than we were in the past. I believe because of the unity of the team we’re going to move forward.â€

Sounds like they already have.

http://www.tboblogs.com/index.php/sports/comments/bulls-ready-to-turn-page/

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While ticket sales for Holtz’s debut have been lackluster — USF officials expect about 35,000 fans to turn out — that has as much to do with the opponent as anything based on comments on fan message boards.

Looks like Scott has been lurking.....glad to see we got a blurb in his article.  :D

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wow.  sounded like a BMM article to me.  Lots of flowery language. 

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While ticket sales for Holtz’s debut have been lackluster — USF officials expect about 35,000 fans to turn out — that has as much to do with the opponent as anything based on comments on fan message boards.

We had 40K last year and 48K the year before for our stinky home openers .... It ain't the opponent.

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Warren, who didn’t blink when he said he thinks this year’s team could be the best of his career, explained why when asked what he sees as the Bulls’ strength.

“It’s unity,†he said. “We’ve come together as a team. We’re more disciplined now than we were in the past. I believe because of the unity of the team we’re going to move forward.â€

Sounds like they already have.

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Its the economy...

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Its the economy...

I think it's a combination of the economy, opponent and TV games.  Why would the casual fan lay out money to go to the game when they are having money/job issues, see a team that LOST to Charleston Southern last year and there are some great games on TV if they stay home?  The 35,000 who show up are the core USF fan base (students, alums, donor/sponsors) that will be at every home game.  I still say the announced/distributed tickets will be over 40,000.

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Fewer cars will probably come to the game too with the parking fee being jacked to $15/car.  I'll still showup.

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its $15 bucks now? whaaat? bah.

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Its the economy...

they are selling tickets for $5. can't blame it on the economy. you could take a family of four for $20.

if we were playing a decent draw we would have 50k+ in the stands.

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