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USF: What's new

By Times staff

© St. Petersburg Times, published August 25, 2000

THE TOUGHEST SCHEDULE YET: Okay, so you've heard it a million times, but it bears repeating. This is an odd season for the Bulls -- a transition year between Division I and I-AA. To celebrate, South Florida has lined up five Division I teams. The Bulls will meet all of their Division I opponents -- Kentucky, Baylor, Southern Mississippi, Connecticut and Middle Tennessee State -- away from the friendly confines of Raymond James Stadium. A good measuring stick for future seasons? That's what Jim Leavitt hopes to find out.

A FOND FAREWELL: This is the final season for 14 of the 70 members of the inaugural recruiting class. They began from ground zero five years ago and are leading the way into Division I competition. They are: Charlie Jackson, Roy Manns, Anthony Henry, Rafael Williams, Vassay Marc, Joey Sipp, Ryan Benjamin, Otis Dixon, Edwin Greene, Steve Hatley, Shawn Hay, Jay Mize, Cory Porter and Marshall Smith. Jackson, Manns, Henry, Williams, Marc and Sipp are this year's team captains.

SAME OLD SIDELINE, NEW FACES: The Bulls have added three new faces to the staff. Scott Bruning is the offensive line coach. Bruning, who spent seven seasons at Wyoming, will focus primarily on the interior line. Wally Burnham is the defensive ends coach. Burnham spent nine years as an assistant at Florida State and five as an assistant and defensive coordinator at South Carolina. Rich Rachel has been hired to work with the secondary. Rachel coached the last University of Tampa football team and also has been a defensive coordinator at N.C. State, Kansas, Kansas State and Rutgers. Administrative assistant Renato Diaz left during the first week of practice to become the running backs coach at Columbia University.

SMALL BULLS: South Florida is offering young fans an opportunity to get more involved with the various athletic teams on campus. The Huntington Bank Jr. Bulls Club will give Tampa Bay area children access to Bulls events at a reduced price. For an annual $20 fee, children 12 and under can get admission to all USF regular-season home games. The fee also entitles club members to a T-shirt, club membership card and admission to pregame parties for home football games and other events where coaches, mascots and athletes will be on hand. Participants will be able to interact with mascots, get autographs and have their faces painted green and gold before athletic events. About 2,000 seats will be set aside over the home tunnel at Raymond James Stadium for Jr. Bulls Club members and their families. A section holding about 1,000 will be reserved at the Sun Dome for basketball games. Parents and guests will be able to purchase tickets in the sections at a discounted price. Registration forms for the program are available at Huntington Banks. Call the USF ticket office at (813) 987-6816.

NO BOWLING: South Florida is not eligible for post-season play because it has increased its scholarships from 63 to 85 in order to make the transition to I-A. So no matter what happens this season, the Bulls must be content with their 11 regular-season games.

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