Joseph: No disrespect intended with shovel
The golden shovel, introduced late last season as a blue-collar metaphor for USF digging its way out of trouble, has caused a bit of a flap in the aftermath of Saturday's overtime win at Central Florida.
The Orlando Sentinel reported that USF players "started scooping up pieces of the field" with the shovel, though UCF officials "quickly got the Bulls to stop." Sophomore linebacker Sabbath Joseph, the unofficial keeper of the shovel since last season, said he did not know of any players trying to dig up the field at Bright House Networks Stadium and didn't intend that level of disrespect.
"I didn't really dig. After the game, I ran to the end zone in front of the fans and kind of threw it in the dirt," Joseph said. "We didn't want a piece of the field. We didn't want to disrespect them like that. We just threw it in the ground and threw up the USF sign."
The shovel gained popularity last season when USF played at Syracuse and needed to break out of a three-game losing streak.
"Coach (Jim) Leavitt came up to us and asked us, 'How do we get out of a hole like this?'" said Joseph, who has even kept the shovel with him during weeks between games. "It made a good illustration about how we need to keep digging and not give up. We came together as a family and a team and had a three-game winning streak to finish the (regular) season strong."
(photo, with Joseph on the left with teammate Brouce Mompremier, is from our USF fan photo gallery, which you can visit here)