Blackwell has faced Bulls twice before
You've probably read about how new defensive coordinator Joe Tresey did a number on USF's offense the past two seasons while at Cincinnati, with his defense forcing eight turnovers in 2007 and holding the Bulls to 10 points in 2008.
But how about holding USF to 150 yards of total offense? That's what Illinois State did in 1999, when new linebackers coach David Blackwell was the Redbirds' defensive line coach. Illinois State lost to USF 14-13 in Tampa, with an extra point blocked and a field goal missed in the final seconds to clinch the Bulls' win. Illinois State's defense had six sacks against the Bulls, and held USF to negative yardage in the fourth quarter. The Redbirds went on to the I-AA national semifinals that season.
Blackwell was again on the opposite sidelines from USF two years later when the Bulls went to Pittsburgh for what was then the biggest win in USF's short history. This wasn't a good day for the Panthers defense, as USF's Marquel Blackwell threw for 343 yards and four touchdowns in a 35-26 win. One of Pitt's starting linebackers that day, Gerald Hayes, was a starting linebacker for the Arizona Cardinals in last month's Super Bowl in Tampa.
Anyway, for a young assistant who recruited the state of Florida, you see why David Blackwell had direct knowledge of USF's emergence as a program, going back nearly a decade.
-- In talking with Jim Leavitt and Blackwell in the last few days, they've made reference to just three assistants on the defensive staff -- Tresey, Blackwell and Kevin Patrick, who will now oversee the entire defensive line. His title was defensive ends coach last year, but after John Hendrick suffered a heart attack last summer, Patrick oversaw the entire line, with Hendrick helping with the tackles. This fall, Hendrick will focus on special teams, though USF's other assistants will each continue to have responsibilities with one special-teams unit -- punt, punt block, kickoffs, returns, kicking and so on.
-- Remember Harrison Beck? The Clearwater Countryside graduate, whose interceptions helped USF beat N.C. State last season, is transferring again. First Nebraska, then N.C. State, and now Beck will finish his career at North Alabama, where Terry Bowden is returning to college football.
-- Really good feature from the New York Times on incoming Big East commissioner John Marinatto, who kept a low profile at last week's Big East tournament in New York, allowing his longtime friend and colleague Mike Tranghese to enjoy the last basketball tournament of his Big East tenure.
-- It's not really USF-related, but we ran a front-page feature today on Syracuse guard Eric Devendorf to preview the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. Thebiglead.com ranked its top five most hated players in this year's tournament, and sure enough, Devendorf topped the list.