Thursday, November 23, 2017
Colleges

Marcus Shaw moves up USF Bulls' depth chart

RECOMMENDED READING


TAMPA — In Skip Holtz's first game as USF coach two years ago, Marcus Shaw was a freshman getting mop-up duty in a romp over Stony Brook when he piled up 99 yards of offense in the fourth quarter, including a 63-yard touchdown run.

In two seasons since, the running back from Arcadia hasn't built on that promising debut, totaling 97 yards of offense. He played well on special teams last year, with 11 tackles and a 79-yard kickoff return against Connecticut, but his potential for big plays on offense had largely been on the shelf.

"He has great talent," Holtz said Tuesday, preparing for Saturday's opener against Chattanooga. "He has speed, he has athleticism, he's shifty, he can make you miss in the open field. He's physical, he's tough. He has all the attributes you want. But if you can't trust him to go the right way or block the right guy when he doesn't have the ball, then you can't play him. That's where I think he's matured and developed."

In the past month, Shaw has had the consistency and maturity coaches had hoped to see in his first two seasons. He has pushed to No. 2 on the depth chart behind senior Demetris Murray, and as the Bulls open the season hoping for a major turnaround, Shaw has as much buzz around him as any player in camp.

"I've matured, a lot, very much," said Shaw, who was suspended from two games late last season. "I understand what I'm here for now."

Two weeks ago, when Shaw first saw his name listed as a co-starter with Murray, he immediately called his mother in Arcadia.

"That's the first person I called," he said. "She told me to pray, and keep God first."

The past two years have taught Shaw humility as he went from one of the state's leading rushers as a junior and senior to relative obscurity on a college roster loaded with high school stars. The Stony Brook game wasn't the first time Shaw dominated lesser competition. While at DeSoto County High, he once piled up 344 yards on eight carries against Estero, with five touchdowns of 40 yards or longer.

Now, he's back in position to shine, and with Murray and No. 3 running back Lindsey Lamar being seniors, he could have an even larger role in 2013. Knowing the hard work it has taken to get to this position, he says he's not going to let it get away from him.

"It taught me that everything is not given to you," said the 5-foot-9, 189-pound back. "You have to earn it. Even if I do get (the No. 2 job), I'm not going to get complacent. I'm still going to work. I realize how much it means to me."

Shaw's maturation has come as Holtz shifted tight ends coach Larry Scott, an offensive lineman on USF's first team in 1997, over to coach running backs. Shaw said he has identified with Scott on a personal level, and that the running backs are "brothers," brought closer by competition among them.

"(Scott) is teaching me more about life, about being a better person," Shaw said. "I've been trying my hardest, putting God first. Hopefully he'll be with me. I pray all the time. I don't just pray to ask for stuff. I pray to thank him for stuff, too. Without him, I wouldn't be here."

Greg Auman can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3346. View his blog at blogs.tampabay.com/usf. Follow him on Twitter at @GregAuman.

Comments
Presenting the 2017 Sports Turkey of the Year

Presenting the 2017 Sports Turkey of the Year

Happy Turkey Day!Today is a day of tradition.The Macy’s parade. Turkey and stuffing. The Lions and Cowboys.And our annual "Turkey of the Year.’’It’s a tradition started by my former colleague at the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the brilliant columnist P...
Published: 11/22/17
Updated: 11/23/17
Rick and Tom podcast: USF vs UCF is the biggest game in Florida this weekend

Rick and Tom podcast: USF vs UCF is the biggest game in Florida this weekend

It’s a Thanksgiving Football Wednesday as Rick Stroud and Tom Jones preview the Bucs-Falcons game, USF-UCF, Alabama-Auburn, Ohio State-Michigan and more.The guys agree on the Bucs game outcome with Rick saying they can’t win. They also agree that Tha...
Published: 11/22/17

Call Missouri jinxed, but Michael Porter Jr. injury is its own story

Please repeat after me: There is no such thing as jinxes, hexes, ghosts or cartoonish black clouds looming with personalized curses for select targets.Honest.But, boy, are there coincidences — even if some say there is no such thing as those, either....
Published: 11/21/17

Chip Kelly is not the best candidate for Florida job

For the sake of a beleaguered and bedraggled fan base, here’s hoping Chip Kelly becomes the next head coach of the Florida Gators even though I think he’s not a great fit — culturally, geographically and philosophically — at UF.Gator Nation needs som...
Published: 11/21/17

Lane Kiffin knows speculation about his future grows with each victory

BOCA RATON — Lane Kiffin already knows what profession he will choose once his coaching career ends.Kiffin, in his first season at Florida Atlantic, thinks he is destined to join the sports-media ranks. It will provide him opportunity to switch roles...
Published: 11/21/17
Jones: Maybe the Florida job isn’t as good as we thought

Jones: Maybe the Florida job isn’t as good as we thought

These are strange, unsettling times for the University of Florida.The Gators need themselves a football coach.They offer a terrific job. Maybe one of the best jobs in the country.Right?Uh, right? (nervous laugh)Well, we’ll soon find out. Maybe this i...
Published: 11/21/17
UF has little to say after meeting with Kelly

UF has little to say after meeting with Kelly

GAINESVILLE — At last, there’s some actual smoke to the Chip Kelly-Florida rumors.The Gators sent a group — including president Kent Fuchs and athletic director Scott Stricklin — to New Hampshire on Sunday to talk with the former Oregon coach about U...
Published: 11/20/17
No. 2 Miami finishes on 30-0 run, tops Virginia 44-28

No. 2 Miami finishes on 30-0 run, tops Virginia 44-28

MIAMI — After Miami clinched the first Atlantic Coast Conference Coastal Division crown in program history, upset the then-No. 3 team in the country, claimed one of the top four spots in the College Football Playoff rankings and after many of the nat...
Published: 11/18/17
Florida State routs Delaware State 77-6

Florida State routs Delaware State 77-6

TALLAHASSEE — Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher longed for his team to play in this type of game throughout its disappointing season.After Hurricane Irma caused a three-week layoff between FSU’s first two games, forcing it to play 11 in a row to finis...
Published: 11/18/17
A welcome return to dominance for the Florida defense

A welcome return to dominance for the Florida defense

GAINESVILLE — Chauncey Gardner wasn’t fooled. He saw UAB snap the ball. He saw the quarterback throw a screen. He saw the receiver fire a second pass downfield. Then a crowd of 84,649 saw the sophomore safety high-point the trick-play pass to earn hi...
Published: 11/18/17