New LBs coach Blackwell 'passionate'
Colts defensive coordinator Larry Coyer, a Bucs assistant last season, remembers when David Blackwell was just a graduate assistant at East Carolina in 1993. An offensive lineman whose playing days had been cut short by a neck injury, Blackwell got his first shot at coaching on the defensive side of the ball.
"We took him as a defensive grad assistant, and he just locked into it," Coyer said of Blackwell, announced Thursday as USF's new linebackers coach and co-defensive coordinator. "He's a really good football coach. He's passionate, always has been. He loves football, and whatever it takes, that's what he's going to do. He'll fit in with Coach (Jim) Leavitt well."
Coyer has followed Blackwell's coaching career, which had a combined nine seasons at Pittsburgh and Clemson, and said he's been impressed with what he has been able to do at age 37.
"He's a great recruiter, too, something people overlook sometimes," Coyer said. "One day, that guy is going to be a head coach. South Florida is lucky to have him."
-- From the Small World Department, Blackwell's name came up in the offseason as a potential match for the defensive coordinator job at Iowa State -- he was linebackers coach at Pittsburgh for three seasons when current Cyclones head coach Paul Rhoads was the Panthers' defensive coordinator. That job of course went to USF's Wally Burnham, which created the position opening that Blackwell now fills.
-- The State in Columbia notes that Blackwell was the only Clemson assistant who didn't get a raise last year, staying at the same $142,000 salary. He'll make $160,000 at USF. The Bulls released the salary information Thursday for new offensive coordinator Mike Canales, who likely will be USF's highest-paid assistant at $200,000, up $50,000 from last season, when he was receivers coach.
Leavitt has a pool of $1.35 million for his assistants this year -- he used $60,000 of that last season for other football staffers besides his nine full-time assistants. If you bump that to $70,000, Leavitt would have $120,000 to use on raises for the five assistants who stayed on staff but weren't promoted: Carl Franks, John Hendrick, Kevin Patrick, Larry Scott, Mike Simmonds. That works out to an average 23 percent raise for those five, based on last year's salaries.
-- The Anderson Independent Mail has a wishing-you-well quote from Tigers coach Dabo Swinney.
-- This story from Upstatetoday.com writes that Blackwell "had a big hand in the improved play of the TIgers' defense in recent years."
-- In soccer news, USF's Yohance Marshall has beaten the odds and made the roster of MLS' L.A. Galaxy as an undrafted rookie.
-- More good developments for USF's women's basketball team, as the top RPI team left out of CollegeRPI.com's projected NCAA field, Texas Tech, lost in the opening round of the Big 12 tournament. I have to think that removes Texas Tech from consideration for an at-large berth ...