Hostilities surface at USF's final Tampa practice
The Bulls may have lost their coach during the December lull, but evidently not their fighting spirit.
USF's final on-campus practice before the Birmingham Bowl ended with an intrasquad scuffle of sorts Thursday morning. Coaches could be seen separating DB Hassan Childs and OT Eric Mayes, with another unidentified defensive player also being ordered off the field.
At that point, reporters -- normally allowed entrance to practice for the final 5-10 minutes -- were asked to leave. Interim coach T.J. Weist and defensive captain Auggie Sanchez could be heard lighting into the team during its traditional post-practice meeting at midfield.
New coach Charlie Strong, who has appeared at some bowl practices, was not around.
"It's just competitiveness," Weist said. "We decided today it was really gonna be one of our last full-padded practices. ... And at the end, we just went a little two-minute period, so competitiveness got to 'em and guys wanted to make plays and guys were scuffling a little bit.
"And I've always told the team, if you don't take enough pride in doing your job and stopping the other player from the getting the ball or whatever, if you're not scuffling a little bit and it doesn't mean enough to you, then you're probably not doing what you're supposed to be doing."
Whether the scrum truly represents a spirited team -- or a splintered one -- will become evident in exactly one week, when No. 25 USF (10-2) faces South Carolina (6-6) at Legion Field.
"At least we didn't lose our edge," senior OLB Nigel Harris said. "A lot of people normally do when they have a bunch of time off, so that's good that we've still got it in us."