Holtz talks about dismissal of Mike Ford
USF football coach Skip Holtz, doing an hourlong interview on 1010 Sports AM's Happy Hour with J.P. Peterson on Thursday afternoon, addressed Wednesday's dismissal of senior running back Mike Ford for an unspecified violation of team rules. Here's what he had to say about the dismissal:
"Very, very difficult. You look at a guy like Mike Ford, who is a tremendous athlete, but you know what, he's a great young man. Having the opportunity to sit there and visit with him, talk with him, he made a mistake. Everybody's got to be held accountable for their actions. He made a mistake. He's on the first step, which is acknowledging I made a mistake. He's standing up, he's being accountable, he's handling it like a man. I think that's the first step in saying I want to keep playing.
"He wants to keep playing. He'd like to do what he can this semester academically to get that much closer to graduation, then transfer someplace where he has a chance to get on the field for his senior year. He'll still have an opportunity to do that.
"You certainly don't walk into a program with any type of mindset of bringing out the hatchet and chopping everybody out, saying 'This is my program and my guys.' We're all Bulls. We're all South Florida Bulls. This isn't about being one of Coach Leavitt's or one of Coach Holtz's. We're all South Florida Bulls. We've got to come together and build ourselves a team right now.
"I've said from the beginning, everybody is going to be held accountable for their actions. It's just an unfortunate situation. There's a set of rules and everybody has to abide by them. The entire team has to follow them. This is not a decision I made. This is a decision he made. He understands that. He regrets it. He knows he made a mistake and wants to do right. I commend him for the way that he's handled it, for the way he's carried himself and handled himself in this situation. I hope he gets both of his feet back on the ground and goes forward to get a degree and has the opportunity to continue playing.
"I made a couple of phone calls for him today to try to help him, if that's the direction he wants to go in and we wants to continue to play. I wish it was with us. Watching that bowl game last year, I certainly would love to have him back for another year. You can't just reward talent. You have to have a set of rules, and everybody has to follow them if you're going to build a team."