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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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Heads of distinction
By Greg Auman, Times Staff Writer
Published October 3, 2007
Matt Grothe was one of several USF players to debut a mohawk look against West Virginia.
[Brian Cassella | Times]
TAMPA - The mohawk haircuts that several players debuted Friday night against West Virginia were intended as a gesture of team unity, but four days later, the Bulls could take a step back and just laugh at the way they looked.
Freshman receiver Carlton Mitchell, who caught a 55-yard touchdown in the win, claims to have started the fad way before the Auburn game. Last week he added a twist, getting the Bulls' "U" logo and a football shaved into each side of his head. Well, it's supposed to be a football.
"He made my football look like lips," Mitchell said. "It's a football. Everybody's like, 'I saw you on TV with the Bulls sign and the lips on your head.'"
Quarterback Matt Grothe had perhaps the most glaring mohawk, and he said Tuesday that running back Aston Samuels did it for him on a whim before the game.
"Everybody said he cuts hair, and he had his clippers with him," Grothe said. "I figured if he has them with him all the time ... I told my parents about two minutes after I did it. I thought my mom was going to kill me. I told her I wasn't the only person on the team that had one, and she settled down. It's my head."
Mitchell said he has grown to like Grothe's new look.
"I think people can pick him out on campus more now," he said. "When I first saw him here, he didn't look like a quarterback. Now, people are like 'He has a mohawk. That's Matt Grothe.'"
The entire team has been moved by the "FINISH STRONG" mantra on wristbands, but punter/kicker Delbert Alvarado took the phrase to another level Thursday, having it shaved into the back of his head.
"It was the first time I did something crazy like that," said his friend, Jake Berger, who works at Tampa Bay Barber's and Beauty. "He said, 'One of the guys on the team has an awesome design in his hair. Can you beat that?'"
The haircut took about an hour. Berger said Alvarado brought a flier back to USF and he has gotten some calls from other players, so expect more wild looks for the Oct.13 home game against Central Florida.
HOME FOR A WHILE: The women's soccer team played its first six matches on the road, and when the Bulls finally got a home game, it was Friday night, when most USF fans were watching the football win against West Virginia.
The Bulls (2-5-1) still drew about 350 for a 1-0 loss to Connecticut, then picked up their first Big East win Sunday, 1-0 at Providence. Now they have a key stretch of four home games, starting Friday against Georgetown.
"Right before the Providence game, we talked about what great chemistry we had," first-year coach Denise Schilte-Brown said. "The girls were excited to be around each other. They made the atmosphere fun for each other."
THIS AND THAT: Men's basketball coach Stan Heath could pick up his first oral commitment early next week: junior college forward Billy Rush. Rush, a 6-foot-8 forward from suburban Chicago, visited USF last week and said he was close to committing but first wanted to visit Northern Illinois. ... Football wasn't the only USF team knocking off a Top 10 West Virginia team. Men's soccer jumped into the Top 10 in some polls with a 7-1-1 record after getting a 1-0 win against the Mountaineers on Saturday in Morgantown. ... Pete Fiutak, writing for collegefootballnews.com, says "If you were to rank all 119 D-I head coaches ... by how good they'd do in an ultimate fighting tournament, I'd probably put (USF coach Jim) Leavitt number one."
Greg Auman can be reached at email@example.com and at (813) 226-3346. Check out his blog at blogs.tampabay.com/usf.