Bulls headed back to Vero on Aug. 10-17
For the fourth preseason in a row, USF will hold part of its preseason camp at the Vero Beach Sports Village, though the Bulls will have a shorter stay at the former Dodgertown complex, staying only from Aug. 10-17 this year.
USF officially announced its return to Vero -- the Bulls have stayed 10-11 nights in past season under Skip Holtz, but will have seven nights bunkered together under first-year coach Willie Taggart. USF starts practice Aug. 5, with a few days to get in pads and into full contact before their week in Vero, then another week back on campus before beginning normal game-week preparation for the Aug. 31 opener against McNeese State.
"I'm looking forward to the opportunity to train at the Vero Beach Sports Village," Taggart said in a statement. "I've heard nothing but good things about the people there, and I think it will be a good opportunity for this football team to come together. We have a lot of work to do heading into the season, and this will give us a distraction-free location where we can just focus on what we need to get done."
Spending three fewer nights in Vero should save USF on its costs -- the Bulls' contract calls for a rate of $160 per person per night, covering all lodging, food and use of the facilities, which would add up to an estimated $24,000 a night for a travel party of 150 people. USF will have to provide housing and meals for the team during the extra camp days spent on campus before school starts, so some of the savings is diverted to on-campus expenses.
The Bulls have made a preseason home in the historic Dodgertown complex, staying in the same rooms where Jackie Robinson, Don Drysdale, Sandy Koufax and other baseball legends stayed when the Dodgers held spring training for decades in the same complex. With the Dodgers now training in Arizona, the complex has been rebranded for other sports, with a full-size, lined football field added last year. The Bulls had trained in the outfields of baseball fields during their first two trips to Vero.
No specific schedule has been set for USF's training camp, though it's reasonable to think the Bulls would hold a scrimmage on Saturday, Aug. 17, their final day in Vero Beach before returning to camp. It hasn't been determined yet whether practices will be open to the public, as they have been in past trips to Vero.