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Kawika Mitchell joins USF football radio team

USF all-time tackles leader Kawika Mitchell is joining the Bulls' radio team.

JIM DAMASKE | Times

USF all-time tackles leader Kawika Mitchell is joining the Bulls' radio team.

USF all-time tackles leader Kawika Mitchell, who returned to earn his degree this past spring following an eight-year NFL career, is joining the Bulls' football broadcasts.

The school announced Thursday that Mitchell will join the USF/IMG Radio Network as a sideline reporter, joining the veteran Bulls broadcast tandem of Jim Louk (play-by-play) and Mark Robinson (analyst).

“We are thrilled to add a Bulls legend like Kawika Mitchell to an already outstanding broadcast team,” USF athletic director Mark Harlan said in a USF news release.

“Jim and Mark have been providing one of the best college football broadcasts in the nation for years, and I know our fans will really enjoy the opportunity to hear from Kawika and the additional insight and perspective he will bring.”

USF radio broadcasts again will be aired locally on WHFS-98.7 FM and WHFS 1010-AM. Jim Lighthall and Justin Pawlowski, veteran radio voices from 98.7 The Fan, will continue to host the Bulls' pregame and postgame shows.

Additionally, USF announced Coach Willie Taggart's weekly radio show will be broadcast from seven different area Beef 'O' Brady's locations during the season. The complete list can be found here

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Assessing the Bulls' preseason depth chart

For at least the short term -- until Monday at 10 a.m., to be precise -- USF's preseason depth chart is set. Based on what we learned during spring practices and summer workouts, it features few tweaks and fewer bombshells.

And it all could be overhauled by the end of the month anyway, especially if some of the incoming freshmen perform as hoped.

But while we trudge through the summer's handful of remaining dog days, it's fun to dissect. Here are a few initial observations.

* Among the glaring absences is senior RB Michael Pierre, who ran for 73 yards in the Bulls' spring game. According to USF, Pierre had to give up football due to neck- and spinal cord-related injuries. Sophomore Darius Tice, the Bulls' top returning rusher (35 carries, 141 yards), is atop the depth chart for now. Meantime, junior Willlie Davis (39 carries, 139 yards) has transferred to Tennessee Tech. …

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USF '14 preseason depth chart

The two-deep USF football preseason depth chart released Tuesday. The Bulls report for preseason camp Sunday and begin practice Monday at 10 a.m.

Offense
X Andre Davis, Sr. 6-1/205
  Alex Mut, So. 6-3/205

Y (TE) Sean Price, Jr. 6-3/250
       Mike McFarland, Sr. 6-5/252

LT Darrell Williams, Sr. 6-5/307
   Kofi Amichia, So. 6-4/290

LG Thor Jozwiak, Jr. 6-4/321
   Clavion Nelson, Jr. 6-3/302

C Austin Reiter, Sr. 6-3/296
  Cameron Ruff, R-Fr. 6-3/313

RG Quinterrius Eatmon, Sr. 6-6/313
   Dominique Threatt, So. 6-1/320

RT Brynjar Gudmundsson, Jr. 6-4/315
   Mak Djulbegovic, Jr. 6-5/293

HB Darius Tice, So. 5-10/206
   Sta'fon McCray, R-Fr. 5-11/215

QB Mike White, So. 6-4/211
   Steven Bench, Jr. 6-2/215

FB Kennard Swanson,  R-Fr. 6-0/253
   Corian Hamilton, Jr. 6-0/231

Z Deonte Welch, Sr. 6-0/215
  Chris Dunkley, Sr. 6-0/188

Defense
DE Eric Lee, Jr. 6-3/248
   Demetrius Hill, Jr. 6-3/270

DT Todd Chandler, Jr. 6-0/321
   Deadrin Senat, R-Fr. 6-1/300

DT Derrick Calloway, So. 6-2/285
   Bruce Hector, R-Fr. 6-2/296

DE Elkino Watson, Sr. 6-2/291
   Daniel Awoleke, Jr. 6-5/272

SAM Reshard Cliett, Sr. 6-2/235
    Zack Bullock, Jr. 6-3/221

MIKE Tashon Whitehurst, Jr. 6-3/225
     Auggie Sanchez, R-Fr. 6-2/241

WILL Nigel Harris, So. 6-0/220
     Rahmon Swain, Sr. 6-0/222

CB Johnny Ward, So. 6-0/178
   Jalen Spencer, So. 6-0/183

CS Jamie Byrd, Jr. 5-11/184
   Trevon Griffin, Jr. 6-0/204

OS Nate Godwin, So. 5-10/202
   Hassan Childs, Fr. 6-0/188

CB Torrel Saffold, Sr. 5-11/177
   Lamar Robbins, So. 6-2/200

Specialists
P Mattias Ciabatti, Jr. 6-0/189
  Marvin Kloss, Sr. 6-0/209

PK Marvin Kloss, Sr. 6-0/209
   Emilio Nadelman, R-Fr. 5-6/173

H Mattias Ciabatti, Jr. 6-0/189

LS David Burdetsky, Jr. 6-1/221
   Alex Salvato, So. 5-11/175

KO Marvin Kloss, Sr. 6-0/209

KR Chris Dunkley, Sr. 6-0/188

PR Chris Dunkley, Sr. 6-0/188
   Andre Davis, Sr. 6-1/205  

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USF football preseason roster

The 105-man USF preseason roster released Tuesday. The Bulls report for preseason camp Sunday and begin practice Monday at 10 a.m.

1 Chris Dunkley         WR   6-0/188    Sr.
2 Steven Bench         QB   6-2/215     Jr.
2 Jamie Byrd             DB   5-11/184   Jr.
3 Deatrick Nichols     CB   5-10/186   Fr.
4 Jimmy Bayes          LB   6-3/225    Fr.
5 Marlon Mack          RB   6-0/195    Fr.
6 A.J. Legree          WR   6-1/194    Jr.
6 Lamar Robbins        DB   6-2/200    So.
7 Andre Davis          WR   6-1/205    Sr.
8 Derrick Calloway     DT   6-2/285    So.
8 Tyre McCants         WR   5-11/211   Fr.
9 Quinton Flowers      QB   6-0/217    Fr.
9 Demetrius Hill       DE   6-3/270    Jr.
10 Deadrin Senat       DT   6-1/300    R-Fr.
11 Marlon Pope         TE   6-4/255    Jr.
11 Kendall Sawyer      CB   6-1/180    Fr.
12 Sean Price          TE   6-3/250    Jr.
13 Tajee Fullwood      CB   6-2/209    Fr.
14 Mike White          QB   6-4/211    So.
15 Zach Benjamin       WR   6-4/195    R-Fr.
15 Vincent Jackson     DE   6-2/246    Fr.
16 Adam Robles         QB   6-2/185    Fr.
16 Reshard Cliett      LB   6-2/235    Sr.
17 Tommy Eveld         QB   6-5/195    So.
18 Rahmon Swain        LB   6-0/222    Sr.
18 Evan Wilson         QB   6-2/195    R-Fr.
19 Eric Dungy          WR   6-1/190    Jr.
20 Devin Abraham       CB   5-9/187    Fr.
21 Torrel Saffold      DB   5-11/177   Sr.
22 Hassan Childs       DB   6-0/188    So.
23 Mazzi Wilkins       CB   6-0/162    Fr.
24 Johnny Ward         DB   6-0/178    So.
25 Clinton Jones       WR   5-9/160    Sr.
26 Chase Whitehead     WR   5-9/170    Fr.
27 Marvin Kloss        PK   6-0/209    Sr.
28 Sta'fon McCray      RB   5-11/215   R-Fr.
29 C.J. Garye          LB   6-3/228    Jr.
30 Jalen Spencer       DB   6-0/183    So.
31 Darius Tice         RB   5-10/206   So.
32 D'Ernest Johnson    RB   5-10/207   Fr.
33 Tye Turner          FB   6-3/259    Jr.
35 Emilio Nadelman     PK   5-6/173    R-Fr.
36 Nate Godwin         DB   5-10/202   So.
37 Trevon Griffin      DB   6-0/204    Jr.
37 Rodney Watson       RB   5-11/185   Sr.
39 Tyler Robb          DB   5-10/200   Jr.
40 Brandon Harris      FB   5-11/233   Jr.
41 Jake Carlton        TE   6-3/240    Sr.
42 Corian Hamilton     FB   6-0/231    Jr.
43 Auggie Sanchez      LB   6-2/241    R-Fr.
44 Nick Holman         LB   6-2/231    Fr.
46 Eric Briggs         P    6-2/197    Fr.
47 Kennard Swanson     FB   6-0/253    R-Fr.
48 Spencer Adkinson    TE   6-3/237    R-Fr.
48 Ruben Garcia        LB   6-0/248    Sr.
49 Mattias Ciabatti    P    6-0/189    Jr.
50 Hans Louis          LB   6-0/229    Sr.
51 Tashon Whitehurst   LB   6-3/225    Jr.
52 Zack Bullock        LB   6-3/221    Jr.
53 Elkino Watson       DL   6-2/291    Sr.
54 LeGrande Harley     LB   6-1/230    Jr.
55 Josh Black          LB   6-2/228    Fr.
56 Juwuan Brown        LB   6-2/230    Fr.
57 Nigel Harris        LB   6-0/220    So.
58 Zach Stewart        LS   6-3/220    Fr.
59 Alex Salvato        LS   5-11/175   So.
60 Bruce Hector        DT   6-2/296    R-Fr.
61 Kieran Pettus       DT   6-3/239    So.
61 Dominique Threatt   OL   6-1/320    So.
62 David Burdetsky     LS   6-1/221    Jr.
63 Michael Smith       OL   6-3/319    Fr.
64 Thor Jozwiak        OL   6-4/321    Jr.
65 Clavion Nelson      DL   6-3/302    Jr.
66 Brynjar Gudmundsson OL   6-4/305    Jr.
67 Tyler Dever         OL   6-3/284    Fr.
68 Michael Galati      OL   6-3/286    Fr.
69 Zach Hudson         OL   6-5/302    Fr.
70 Quinterrius Eatmon  OT   6-6/313    Sr.
71 Mak Djulbegovic     OL   6-5/293    Jr.
72 Sam Janetzke        OL   6-2/283    Fr.
73 Jeremi Hall         OL   6-5/345    R-Fr.
74 Cameron Ruff        OL   6-3/313    R-Fr.
75 Kofi Amichia        OL   6-4/290    So.
76 Darrell Williams    OL   6-5/307    Sr.
77 Jake Kaufman        OL   6-9/305    Sr.
78 Austin Reiter       OL   6-3/296    Sr.
79 Benjamin Knox       OL   6-6/287    Fr.
80 Mike McFarland      TE   6-5/252    Sr.
81 Ryshene Bronson     WR   6-3/187    Fr.
82 Jordan Duval        WR   6-2/216    Sr.
83 Deonte Welch        WR   6-0/215    Sr.
84 Alex Mut            WR   6-3/205    So.
85 Elkanah Dillon      TE   6-5/239    Fr.
86 Stanley Clerveaux   WR   6-3/196    Fr.
87 Rodney Adams        WR   6-1/190    So.
88 Austin Aikens       WR   6-0/180    So.
90 James Hamilton      DT   6-2/301    Jr.
91 Eric Lee            DE   6-3/248    Jr.
92 Brandon Sluder      DE   6-4/239    Fr.
93 Daniel Awoleke      DE   6-5/272    Jr.
94 Daniel Perry        DL   6-7/260    So.
95 Todd Chandler       DT   6-0/321    Sr.
97 Rohan Blackwood     DE   6-5/220    Fr.
98 Mike Love           DE   6-4/245    R-Fr.
99 Kevin Bronson       DE   6-4/265    Fr. 

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Around the AAC: Media day leftovers

Cincinnati senior QB Munchie Legaux is trying to return from a grotesque knee injury.

AP Photo

Cincinnati senior QB Munchie Legaux is trying to return from a grotesque knee injury.

NEWPORT, R.I. -- As quarterbacks go, it's the darndest depth chart Tommy Tuberville has seen. Cincinnati's veteran coach opens camp next month with arguably the nation's best quarterback never to take a collegiate snap, and a fledgling folk hero on his heels.

Well-traveled sophomore Gunner Kiel, once deemed the nation's top QB prospect coming out of high school, enjoyed a dazzling spring and is clearly the player to beat. But senior Munchie Legaux appears poised to push him less than 11 months after suffering what Tuberville called the worst injury he has ever seen.

"A Joe Theismann injury," Tuberville said.

Legaux, then the Bearcats' starter, tore a pair of ligaments in his left knee after being tackled low on a fourth-quarter pass at Illinois last September. He didn't play again in 2013 and Tuberville presumed his career was done. The presumption stood even after Legaux was granted an extra
year of eligibility by the NCAA.

"But in his heart he wants to play," Tuberville said at Tuesday's American Athletic Conference media day.

"So every day our trainer comes in like, 'Hey he's doing this, he's getting better at this.' I thought he'd be about 60 percent, might have a chance to take a few snaps during the year or later on in the year, but he's truly about 80 percent with two weeks to go before we start camp and then a month before we play our first game (Sept. 12). So he's got a legitimate chance to be a factor."

Still, unseating Kiel -- who de-committed from two major schools and spent a season at Notre Dame before transferring -- will be difficult. Kiel has followed his prolific spring effort by working with the No. 1 offensive skill players all summer.

"He's had a lot of notoriety for someone who's never played," Tuberville said.

By contrast, Legaux has -- and seems bent on playing again.

"Players respect him and I'd love to be able to run him out there in the early part of the year as a guy who's gonna be able to help us win games," Tuberville said.

UCONN DERBY: New UConn coach Bob Diaco was clear and concise when asked how much last year's performances by his trio of returning quarterbacks will weigh on his choice of a 2014 starter.

"Zero," he said.

The Huskies, 3-9 last season, return senior Chandler Whitmer (896 yards, five TDs, six INTs in '13) and sophomores Tim Boyle (621 yards, no TDs, eight INTs) and Casey Cochran (1,293 yards, 11 TDs, four INTs). Cochran (6-foot-1, 224 pounds) won three of his four starts at season's end, but will be engaged in an essential dead heat when the Huskies' camp commences Saturday.

"Chandler (6-0, 192) is working on his liabilities. Very few of his liabilities have to do with his tangible skill," Diaco said. "He's incredibly talented, he's fast. He's got an incredibly strong arm. He throws great on the move.

"Casey is your quintessential leader," Diaco added. "He's the moxie, he's the swagger, guts guy that's gonna will the group down the field. But he's got to work on his foot speed. He had to work on his body composition. He probably lost almost 30 pounds.

"And Timmy (6-3, 216), a young guy finding his way from a leadership standpoint, finding his way from a communication standpoint, finding his way as it relates to piecing together all the moving parts of an offense attacking the defense. But he possesses the total package as it relates to his tangible skill."

USFL, PART II? SMU coach June Jones evoked widespread scoffs recently when he suggested on a WDAE-620 AM radio interview the less-prominent FBS

conferences should consider competing in the spring to remain viable and distinctive.

But on Tuesday, Jones, who coached for two springs in the USFL, told the Tampa Bay Times he was simply trying to make a point.

"I said it from my own personal reasons that everybody needs to think out of the box a little bit," he said.

With autonomy imminent for the nation's five biggest conferences, whom some fear ultimately could branch into their own division, the other FBS conferences must carve, claw and innovate to remain relevant. American Athletic Conference commissioner Mike Aresco defiantly insisted his league warrants 'power' status also. Jones said he agrees, and believes another conference shake-up is near.

Meantime, distinguishing your product doesn't hurt, he indicated.

"I think that maybe by midseason or maybe at the end of the season there's going to be another shuffle. I think Mike's plan is correct in that if we do what we're supposed to do on the football field and on the basketball court and those other sports, we're the only one that has a chance to
be included (in the 'power' group).

"Everybody better start thinking out of the box."

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USF bulks up for new football season

As 320-pound teammate Todd Chandler prepared to squat 700 pounds during a team workout, Thor Jozwiak, pictured, had the presence of mind to chronicle the moment on his iPhone.

Times files (2012)

As 320-pound teammate Todd Chandler prepared to squat 700 pounds during a team workout, Thor Jozwiak, pictured, had the presence of mind to chronicle the moment on his iPhone.

It has invested coin in a new slogan ("Live Green and Gold") and sleek new helmets. Its coach has spent the summer barnstorming from Atlanta to Miami to help generate hope and booster support. Even its website's getting a facelift.

But arguably nothing has helped foster offseason zeal for USF football quite like the impromptu video offensive lineman Thor Jozwiak shot last week. As 320-pound teammate Todd Chandler prepared to squat 700 pounds during a team workout, Jozwiak had the presence of mind to chronicle the moment on his iPhone.

Chandler pulled it off, with excruciation to spare. "Just a normal day in the weight room," he said.

More than 70,000 hits later, the video has served as a 55-second testimonial to USF's collective offseason pursuit of brawn. It's anyone guess as to whether the Bulls, sixth in the American Athletic Conference's preseason media poll, will have the record of a bowl qualifier in 2014.

But at least they'll have the look of one.

Read Joey Knight's full story here.

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Newport news: USF media day notes

USF veterans Todd Chandler (left), Andre Davis (center) and Reshard Cliett represented the Bulls at Tuesday's American Athletic Conference media day in Newport, R.I.

JOEY KNIGHT | Times

USF veterans Todd Chandler (left), Andre Davis (center) and Reshard Cliett represented the Bulls at Tuesday's American Athletic Conference media day in Newport, R.I.

Some more Bulls-centric items from Tuesday's American Athletic Conference media day in Newport, R.I.

* Coach Willie Taggart said with the exception of sophomore WR Tommy Eveld (torn ACL), every Bull who missed all or a portion of spring drills is good to go for Monday's first preseason practice. And even Eveld, who requested a move from quarterback, is healing at an accelerated pace.

"He's way ahead of schedule, and when I say way ahead of schedule, it's kind of scary," Taggart said. "He's running with our guys, doing everything. ... He said, 'I'll be back quicker than you think, Coach,' but we've got to hold him back."

* Of the 28 members of Taggart's 2014 signing class (six early enrollees, 22 February signees), all except two are on the preseason roster. The lone casualties: DE Eric Mayes, who has been ruled a partial qualifier and won't be eligible until 2015; and Estero TE Nick Nataro, who departed shortly after arriving.

For those keeping score, that's a .929 signee efficiency rate.

"That's part of our philosophy; we're not gonna recruit and just let 'em get eligible on their own," Taggart said. "We're gonna tell them what to do and how to do it and keep in contact with them on what they're doing; keep in contact with their coaches and counselors and making sure they're on it. Once we start recruiting 'em and once we get 'em committed to us, they're one of ours now."

* Taggart said he plans to have three two-a-day workouts during preseason camp

* Of the many Bulls who have transformed their bodies in the offseason, DT Todd Chandler said redshirt freshman DT Deadrin Senat especially has stood out.

"He came in a strong guy; he used to work out with me, and he used to push me (when he was) a true freshman," Chandler said. "Friday on bench (press) max day I stopped at 445 (pounds) and he got 475 on there and did it with ease, and he stopped himself. He could've done at least 530. That guy, he's becoming a monster."

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Cincy picked to win American, Bulls 6th

NEWPORT, R.I. -- Cincinnati, which returns 16 starters and appears stocked at the offensive skill spots, has been picked to win the American Athletic Conference title by the league media.

The preseason poll was released this morning prior to the start of the American's media day here in Newport. Cincinnati received 17 of 30 first-place votes, with UCF (seven) and Houston (six) the only other teams to appear first on a ballot.

USF, which returns 16 starters from a 2-10 team, was picked to finish sixth.

Cincinnati, 9-4 last season, returns myriad proven targets for whomever emerges at quarterback. Notre Dame transfer Gunner Kiel, who had a sparkling spring, will be pushed by veteran Munchie Legaux. The offensive line will be anchored by three-time all-conference LT Eric Lefeld.

The entire preseason poll (Teams listed with total points and first-place votes in parentheses):

1. Cincinnati (17) 311
2. UCF (7) 296
3. Houston (6) 268
4. East Carolina 262
5. SMU 158
6. USF 157
7. Memphis 133
8. Temple 105
9. UConn 98
T-9. Tulane 98
11. Tulsa 94

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Bulls to open first week of practices

USF's handful of public spring practices apparently were so well received, the Bulls are delivering an August encore.

The school recently announced Coach Willie Taggart will open the first week of preseason drills to the public. Players report for camp Sunday and begin practice Monday. All workouts will be held on campus.

The first three workouts will feature veterans only, with the freshmen practicing at an undisclosed time. The first full-squad practice is Thursday.

The opening-week schedule:

Monday, Aug. 4, 10 a.m.
Tuesday, Aug. 5, 10 a.m.
Wednesday, Aug. 6, 10 a.m.
Thursday, Aug. 7, 8:30 a.m.
Friday, Aug. 8, 3 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 9, 2 p.m.


The annual Bulls Fan Fest, to be held at Corbett Stadium -- home to USF soccer -- is Aug. 16 from noon to 3 p.m. The season opener, against Western Carolina, is Aug. 30 at 7 p.m. at Raymond James Stadium.

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Bulls embracing newest 'Coach O'

New USF strength coach Irele Oderinde had prior stints at Notre Dame, South Carolina, Western Kentucky and West Virginia.

JOEY KNIGHT | Times

New USF strength coach Irele Oderinde had prior stints at Notre Dame, South Carolina, Western Kentucky and West Virginia.

For all the crunches and cardio work, all the max-outs and military presses, the most excruciating part of Irele Oderinde's sessions may be the drill not included in his normal curriculum.

If you're late to one of Coach O's workouts, the whole team hits the field for up-downs -- dozens of them.

"It's a reminder," USF's new strength and conditioning coach said. "As men, we all need to do right. As young adults they need to do right. It's kind of one of those things where it was instilled in me with my mother; when I didn't do right she gave me a reminder."

By all accounts, the tough love has been embraced. It's the pronunciation the Bulls still are struggling to master.

Raised by a single mom but Nigerian on his dad's side, Irele Vinegar Oderinde says his first name (EAR-lay) means "peace" and his last (oh-DARE-in-day) means "ruling house." Vinegar? It's his mom's maiden name.

"He brings energy; he's a great guy," Bulls senior WR Andre Davis said. "He's definitely like another dad, another coach."

A former fleet, undersized (245 pounds) nose guard at Western Kentucky, Oderinde arrived earlier this summer from West Virginia, where he served as the Mountaineer football team's strength and conditioning coordinator. His predecessor at USF, Hans Straub, resigned in mid-May, three days after issuing a disparaging tweet about former Bulls DE Aaron Lynch.

Less than a month later, Coach O -- not to be mistaken with new men's hoops coach Orlando 'Coach O' Antigua -- was brought on board.

“My relationship with Irele goes back a long way," said Bulls coach (and fellow WKU alumnus) Willie Taggart, a Hilltoppers assistant during Oderinde's playing career. "He is terrific at what he does and has had the opportunity to be part of many outstanding programs and gain a wide range of knowledge in his field.”

A member of WKU's 2002 Division I-AA national title team, Oderinde harbored aspirations of being a college position coach, but found few openings upon graduating in '03. The Hilltoppers, however, did have a graduate-assistant vacancy in their weightroom, and Oderinde had been a two-time state powerlifting champ at Scott County High in Georgetown, Ky.

"So I got in the weightroom and after a week I was like, 'This is it. This is what I want to do,'" said Oderinde, married with no kids. "And ever since, I've fallen in love with it. I don't go to work; every day is a great day and fun day."

His GA gig was followed by stops at Notre Dame, South Carolina, West Virginia and one other stint at WKU. His objective: To craft workouts for each kid in an effort to make them a better player. If they happen to become powerlifters in the process, that's gravy.

Sometimes, the gravy oozes. On Wednesday, Oderinde spotted for DT Todd Chandler when the fifth-year senior squatted 700 pounds.

"He's just a very good guy," Davis said. "He's a guy that, you can get in there with him and...he just brings it all out of you. He makes you want to grind for him and for the team."

His long-term impact remains to be determined. The Bulls made tangible strides under Straub, with the average weight of their five starting offensive linemen rising from 297 to 310 pounds over the winter. In his two months on the job, Oderinde says the team's overall work ethic has been stellar. If the Bulls can maintain a high level of hunger, strength will come, he indicated.

"This is not a knock on anybody that was here before, but we needed to get stronger," Oderinde said.

"Strength-wise, we're not at the top, but we're not at the bottom now either. We have a chance to be okay for sure, especially (considering) where we started from. We could be okay, especially with guys wanting to get better, and that's the main thing. I've been to places where they didn't
really want to work, and here it's been contagious."

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Bulls Fan Fest to be held on campus

The 2014 Bulls Fan Fest will be staged at Corbett Stadium, home to USF soccer.

CAROLINA HIDALGO | Times

The 2014 Bulls Fan Fest will be staged at Corbett Stadium, home to USF soccer.

Another fan-friendly USF football function is being moved to the intimate confines of Corbett Stadium.

The school announced Thursday the 2014 Bulls Fan Fest will be held Aug. 16 from noon to 3 p.m. at Corbett, home to USF soccer. The event, annually held at Raymond James Stadium in the past, will be staged less than four months after the Bulls held their spring intrasquad game at the same site.

Admission is free.

This year, Bulls football players and coaches will be joined by counterparts from every other USF fall sports team, as well as Rocky the Bull, cheerleaders and the Sun Dolls. In addition to autograph and photo opportunities, fans can participate in various contests with a chance to win prizes. Old USF apparel, athletic gear and collectors' items also will be on sale.

The football team reports for preseason camp Aug. 3. USF opens its season Aug. 30 at home against Western Carolina.

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'Strong' side tackle: USF's Chandler squats 700

Though he has earned a reputation for his culinary chops during his tenure at USF, Todd Chandler pulled off something Wednesday at breakfast time that few might find tough to digest or even swallow.

Fortunately for him, it was corroborated by witnesses and documented on an iPhone.

The 320-pound fifth-year senior defensive tackle squatted 700 pounds. Whether that's a USF football record couldn't immediately be determined. The clip can be seen here.

"That's a lot of weight on a man's back," said new Bulls strength coach Irele Oderinde, who spotted Chandler. "First, he did 600 and said, 'Coach, that was easy; put some more weight on it.'"

Oderinde, who had watched Chandler squat 585 three times the previous week, obliged. Chandler then squatted 635 with relative ease.

"He said, 'Coach, put 700 on the bar; I'm gonna do it,'" Oderinde recalled. "I said, 'Okay.'"

While Chandler's feat may not necessarily be a microcosm of the Bulls' across-the-board strength at this point, Oderinde said the overall weightroom commitment has been exceptional since his arrival earlier this summer. 

"They work, and that's one thing I can't complain about at all since I've been here," said Oderinde, a former Western Kentucky nose guard who was serving as West Virginia's football strength coach before being hired to replace Hans Straub in mid-May.

"These guys have busted their tails to get better. I believe we're tired of losing so we're trying to do something about that. ... I'm not saying we're the strongest team out there, but we've improved a little bit. That's a step in the right direction."

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Bulls' national title odds? Same as Auburn's last year (sort of)

Less than two weeks before the start of preseason camp, the odds of USF winning the 2014 national title are reaching Powerball-type probability.

At least according to one online betting service.

The Bulls are a 500-1 shot to capture college football's inaugural playoff, according to bovada.lv, which offers a variety of online wagering services including a sports book. While those odds may not seem unrealistic for a team in a non-power conference coming off a 2-10 season, they're five times longer than they were six months ago, before Willie Taggart signed the American Athletic Conference's top recruiting class.

On Jan. 7, USF's odds -- according to the same site -- were 100-1. So what happened?

"When we open odds in January, there is a lot of speculation on our part on how we expect our bettors to bet certain teams and we did feel that since they may be an improved team we would open them at 100-1 initially and take a few bets,"  Bovada sports book manager Kevin Bradley said through a publicist.

"After months of taking no money on them, they kept drifting off to 250-1 to 300-1 and now at 500-1, we still cannot write a bet on them. That said, we are always weary (sic) of going over 500-1 on teams, especially with the new playoff format, and considering (national title runner-up) Auburn was 500-1 preseason last year, we can really expose ourselves."

Alas, a sports book bound with silver lining.

USF's national title odds are the same as Auburn's last season.

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Ex-Bulls soccer coach Logan Fleck dies

Former USF men's and women's soccer coach Logan Fleck passed away Monday morning.

Times file photo

Former USF men's and women's soccer coach Logan Fleck passed away Monday morning.

Former USF men's and women's soccer coach Logan Fleck, who led both teams simultaneously at one point in the mid-1990s, died Sunday of complications from diabetes.

Mr. Fleck, the men's coach at Stetson at the time of his death, was 54. He was preceded in death by his dad -- a former Lehigh University soccer coach -- and a younger brother, Derek, who died in 2003.

"Probably the three of them are playing a little one-on-one up in heaven right now," said Mary Beth Fleck, Mr. Fleck's younger sister.

Mr. Fleck began his career at USF as a men's assistant in the late 1980s, and took over the program in 1994. In three seasons, he compiled a 34-17 record, leading the '96 team to a share of the Conference USA crown and an NCAA Tournament berth.

He started the women's program in '95, leading the inaugural Bulls team to an 11-3 mark. In 12 seasons as women's coach, he amassed a 97-94-18 record with a Conference USA regular season title in '98.

He remains the women's program's winningest coach. Each spring, every Bulls player who earned a 3.0 GPA or better the prior semester got to line up and deliver a pie to Mr. Fleck's face. …

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My preseason AAC ballot

LB Reshard Cliett (#16) and the Bulls should double their win total from 2013. But will they triple it?

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

LB Reshard Cliett (#16) and the Bulls should double their win total from 2013. But will they triple it?

The following is my projected order of finish in the American Athletic Conference, submitted upon request to the league office earlier today. The official preseason poll will be released at the conference's media day July 29 in Newport, RI (Yes, football is here.).

To elicit debate, I've added a one-sentence rationale for each team's position in the standings.

1. Cincinnati.
'Cats are loaded offensively, and Tommy Tuberville's defenses are traditionally rugged

2. UCF
I waffled here because of the Knights' uncertainty at QB, but nine starters return on defense

3. East Carolina
For my money, Shane Carden's the league's best QB, and Justin Hardy's the top wideout

4. Houston
Lost amid the Cougars' pass-happy style is a defense that forced a nation-best 43 turnovers in '13

5. Tulane
The Green Wave, who made a bowl game last year, possess an outstanding secondary and promising freshman QB

6. USF
Stronger, speedier Bulls will at least double their '13 win total. I just don't know if they'll triple it.

7. SMU
Mustangs have some replenishing to do, but the newcomers are promising and June Jones knows his stuff

8. Temple
My sleeper team in the league. In their last five games of '13, Owls tied or led entering fourth quarter

9. Connecticut
All signs suggest new coach Bob Diaco will get it done in Storrs. But offseason loss of workhorse TB Lyle McCombs hurts

10. Memphis
Tigers made defensive strides in '13, but the offense scored more than 21 points only three times

11. Tulsa
The Golden Hurricane, 3-9 last year, must replace virtually their entire offensive backfield

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