Holtz: Bulls have high expectations for 2012, too
USF football coach Skip Holtz had a conference call Wednesday to promote his participation next week in the American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe, which could give him some nice exposure on NBC over the weekend.
Holtz was on vacation and unavailable for comment last week when USF announced his new contract extension, so this was also our first opportunity to hear his thoughts on the new deal and what it means for his football program.
"It's truly an honor, and I have great respect for Judy Genshaft, our president, and Doug Woolard, our athletic director," Holtz said. "For them to show the sign of faith in the progress that we've made in the program. When you look from a win-loss standpoint, last year was not what we were all hoping for going into the season. Being able to look past that at character of the young men that are there and the progress we've shown academically with the APR and graduation rates, and the progress we're making on the field as we're building that program as a very young program, I think it meant a lot to me that they were willing to say 'We want you to be our football coach.' I believe in South Florida, I believe in the people who are there, believe in the things that we have. We went there to do a job, and we haven't quite completed it. I'm honored that they still feel strong enough about the program and the direction we're headed. I'm really excited about the future and what we're building and doing there in Tampa right now with South Florida."
Holtz was asked about the high expectations being placed on the Bulls by pundits in preseason rankings, despite the Bulls going 1-6 in Big East play last season.
"Those come along with building a program," he said. "Everybody wants to be in the driver's seat, everybody wants to have a football team capable of winning and with that comes expectations. Having a B.J. Daniels as a fifth-year quarterback coming back for us this year and the number of starters we return, we have to keep our nose to the grindstone. It's very competitive in the Big East. I know there's a lot of good football. Our nonconference, we still have to line up and play Nevada, have to line up and play Florida State, have to line up and play Miami. We've got some quality games outside the league, and a very competitive league to compete in. I kind of embrace the expectations, because as much as they may be high on the outside, I promise they're not higher than what we're shooting for on the inside of the program, what we talk about, where we want to go and what we want to build there at South Florida in Tampa. I'm excited about the expectations we're putting on ourselves, moreso than I am the ones on the outside. We'll keep that grounded and understand that each and every week, it's a football game and you have to go out and play. You'll be rewarded if you do the things it's going to take in order to win. You can't turn the ball over and have foolish penalties and make a lot of those mistakes. We lost a number of close games last year, and I think that's added a lot of fuel to the fire for our football team, because they realize just how close we were to being there and having the opportunity to win the league."