Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

USF Bulls need to find team unity in Vero Beach

USF coach Skip Holtz’s focus isn’t on X’s and O’s right now. He describes his team as having “a lot of wedges” and wants to build unity.

Associated Press

USF coach Skip Holtz’s focus isn’t on X’s and O’s right now. He describes his team as having “a lot of wedges” and wants to build unity.

NEWPORT, R.I. — In taking his football team across the state to Vero Beach for two weeks of training camp, USF coach Skip Holtz says it won't be the grueling 1954 Bear Bryant camp of The Junction Boys.

"It's going to be much more like Remember the Titans," Holtz said Tuesday at the Big East preseason media gathering. "It isn't going to be a brutal last-man-standing kind of camp. It's going to be much more about coming together as a team, about team unity and the building and bonding experience we have to have as a team. We are not where we need to be right now as far as (being) close enough to go through the season we're about to go through."

The Bulls announced Tuesday that they will leave Sunday for 12 days for the Vero Beach Sports Village, known for decades as Dodgertown, spring training home of the Dodgers, who left for Arizona two years ago. It's an all-inclusive facility, allowing the Bulls to practice, eat and sleep in the same place with no distractions.

But trip across the state will also be about healing wounds and ending any divisions. Quarterback B.J. Daniels said one change under Holtz is that the locker room is no longer split into offensive and defensive halves, but instead the players are intermingled in alphabetic order. On one side of his locker Daniels has defensive end Claude Davis; on the other, freshman safety Reshard Cliett.

"In going away, it's just us. It's going to help with our team bonding, help us focus and learn stuff about ourselves, as men and as players," Daniels said. "The only thing we can do is grow closer. … That's what it's going to take for us to go where we want to go and do something we haven't done."

Holtz said that after sitting down with each player during spring, he saw lingering issues and emotions surrounding Jim Leavitt's firing weren't entirely resolved in the locker room.

"We are a team going to camp, (split) offense/defense, pro and con of the situations that happened before," Holtz said. "There are a lot of wedges on that football team. We've got to come back together on one bus. We've got to come back together singing Kumbaya and holding hands."

Senior center Sampson Genus said the team has made progress moving on from Leavitt's firing, that "we were kind of broken up a little bit, people still two-sided about the situation, but at the end of the summer everybody really came together."

Spending two weeks in Vero Beach will cost the Bulls about $185,000, executive associate athletic director Bill McGillis said, though he said it cost about $100,000 just in food costs during the two weeks before school started last season.

Athletic director Doug Woolard said Tuesday that the construction being done in USF's athletic district, including three new practice fields, would have forced the Bulls to practice on the same fields the entire preseason, doing too much damage to practice safely there.

The Holtz era officially starts when the Bulls play Stony Brook at home on Sept. 4, but as far as the coach is concerned, the real beginnings will be next week in Vero Beach.

"We've got to come together as a team. We've got to end it," he said. "We've got to take our complaints or any problems that we've had with the way things have transpired, we've got to put it behind us and move forward."

Times staff writer Greg Auman can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3346. Check out his blog at tampabay.com/blogs/bulls and follow him at Twitter.com/gregauman.

USF Bulls need to find team unity in Vero Beach 08/03/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 3, 2010 9:06pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bucs safety Chris Conte became a father during Sunday's loss at Arizona

    Bucs

    Chris Conte attempts to tackle Arizona Cardinals running back Adrian Peterson Sunday in Glendale, Ariz. [AP photo]
  2. Time to break out the Bucs fan's emergency kit?

    Bucs

    A fan in a throwback jersey waits for the start of a game between the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016. LOREN ELLIOTT | Times
  3. Lightning approaches decision time for Mikhail Sergachev

    Lightning Strikes

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Mikhail Sergachev had dinner with his host family from juniors Monday.

    The Lightning has to decide, as early as this weekend whether Mikhail Sergachev will stick in the NHL or return to juniors for another season. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times]
  4. Quarterbacks, head coach targeting Vernon Hargreaves; 'I'm not producing,' he says

    Bucs

    Eli Manning gathered his receivers together during the Giants' Week 4 game against the Bucs and informed them of the weakest link of the secondary he planned to target that afternoon.

    Quarterbacks this season have a 128.7 rating when targeting Vernon Hargreaves. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  5. J.T. Brown won't raise fist, but plans to do more in community

    Blogs

    Lightning wing J.T. Brown will no longer be raising his first as a silent protest during the national anthem.

    J.T. Brown plans to do more in the community to create awareness and understanding for key issues of police brutality and racial inequality.