Two USF 'commitments' get offers from Taggart
As expected, new Oregon coach Willie Taggart's trying to build a recruiting bridge spanning three time zones, even at the risk of burning a few among his old fan base.
Taggart now has offered two seniors who committed to USF during his watch. The latest was Apopka WR Demetri Burch, who announced Tuesday via Twitter he'll make an official visit to Eugene the weekend of Jan. 20-22.
That offer comes nine days after Cocoa ATH Bruce Judson, who led the Tigers to the Class 4A state title earlier this month, announced his offer from Oregon. Judson will visit UO the same weekend as Burch, with whom he he announced his USF commitment (along with Orlando Dr. Phillips ATH Emare Hogan) this past summer.
PROMINENT SPECTATOR: The Bulls commenced a normal game-week practice schedule Monday with one conspicuous spectator -- new coach Charlie Strong.
Strong has begun meeting with players individually and is expected to keep attending bowl practices (though he wasn't spotted during Tuesday's portion open to the media). Athletic director Mark Harlan said Strong will attend the Birmingham Bowl and observe the game from Harlan's box.
"Our team needs him to be around, and they want to see him. It's great for us," Bulls interim coach T.J. Weist said following Monday's full-pads practice. "He actually gives us another set of eyes...of just evaluating our team a little bit for the bowl game."
Speaking Tuesday on the Jim Rome Show, Strong said he hasn't gotten involved with practice, but "just wanted to see the players and just see how they moved around and just how they went about their business."
"And they were really focused and they were really locked in and they really did a good job," Strong added. "And T.J. and that whole staff are to be commended for what they've done."
BACK TO THE 'GRIND:' After an initial week of bowl workouts geared more toward fundamentals and intrasquad competition, the Bulls have begun implementing the South Carolina game plan.
USF practiced in full pads Monday and shells Tuesday. After two more workouts, the team adjourns for two days before flying to Birmingham around noon on Christmas Day and practicing in Alabama that afternoon.
"Today, we definitely kicked it up a higher notch because we ain't going to play no powder-puff team," senior LT Kofi Amichia said after Monday's practice.
ODDS AND ENDS: Though at least a couple of Bulls assistants are expected to follow Taggart to Oregon, all remain in attendance at USF's practices nine days before the Birmingham Bowl. ... PK Emilio Nadelman, who missed the last three regular season games with a quad injury, remains day-to-day, Weist said Monday. "Every day he gets a little closer, but we'll see," said Weist, adding Nadelman has done a small amount of kicking since bowl workouts began.
AUDIBLE: "You always try to find that balance in practice whether you go too hard or not hard enough, or when to back off and when to go good against good. And he gave me some good advice about it. ... You want to get to the game where your guys are healthy and fresh, but you've also got to work, get your reps in. I think it's great to have him out here, he's talking to the players. He's been a great influence for us." -- Weist on having Strong around the program during bowl preparation