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USF Bulls take longest flight in program history to face Nevada

Much has been made of USF's 2,270-mile flight from Tampa to Reno for today's game at Nevada, which will be the longest in USF history — the longest to this point had been the 2,085 miles (give or take a few) that USF traveled to play at San Diego State in 1999, followed by a 1,885-mile trip to Salt Lake City to play Utah in 2001. Both, we should point out, didn't go well for a young Bulls program, with the Aztecs winning 41-12 and the Utes by a 52-21 margin. Even looking ahead to USF's future in the Big East, you might think Boise State is farther away, but it's actually not — Boise is 2,159 miles as the crow flies and about 180 miles less of a drive than Reno, though we wouldn't recommend it.

To put the travel in historic perspective for Skip Holtz, he will travel three times as many miles for this road trip as he did in his entire rookie season as a head coach at Connecticut in 1994. The Huskies made just one trip longer than 100 miles that year — about 420 miles to play James Madison, and Holtz never went any farther until his final game with the Huskies, a 1998 playoff game that sent them 832 miles to play at Georgia Southern.

The longest trip of Holtz's head coaching career? It's actually more than twice as long as the Bulls are traveling today — his East Carolina team played in the 2007 Hawaii Bowl, where the Pirates beat Boise State 41-38 after traveling more than 4,800 miles to get there.

Greg Auman, Times staff writer

Oh, what could have been!

Florida State squares off this evening with hapless Division I-AA opponent Savannah State, an 84-0 loser last week to Oklahoma State.

Imagine, if the Seminoles had a matchup with a top-10 opponent that would draw the attention of the country.

It almost happened.

The No. 6 Seminoles originally were scheduled to play today against No. 9 West Virginia. It would have been one of the best matchups of the season.

But then conference realignment interfered and as part of the move to the Big 12, West Virginia bailed out on its contract with FSU.

"It's a neat deal," Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher said this week of the idea that FSU could have played West Virginia. "I have a great appreciation for that program.

"They have one heck of a football team. But I understand why they did what they did. They had to make a choice for their survival as a conference, and they had to make the call. You just got to do what you got to do."

Urban Meyer embraces technology

Not so long ago, college football players with time on their hands would pick up an Xbox game controller.

Now, instead of playing a simulated college or pro game, Ohio State's players most likely reach for their iPad — and a scouting report on their real upcoming opponent.

"That's something guys utilize a lot now," Buckeyes starting RT Reid Fragel said. "Whether we're just bored, have some down time, whatever. It's something that we can just pull out and they send us the practice film and the game film within hours after we're done, so it's up and we have easy access to it. It's great."

Each Buckeye has an iPad that allows him to watch clips personally tailored for him and his position, both from the last Ohio State game or practice, as well as to preview an upcoming opponent. The coaches are able to draw up specific plays and emphasize techniques and talking points that are sent to their position groups. There are breakdowns by down and distance, personnel and other game data.

The iPads were provided free as loaners this fall to all 1,100 or so Ohio State student-athletes. The university spent about $400,000. The university's intention was to enhance tutoring and mentoring services, but the tablets have become a valuable coaching and communication tool for the 14th-ranked Buckeyes, who host UCF today.

"To say that we don't have a lot of respect for Central Florida would be nonsense," coach Urban Meyer said. "The good thing is nowadays our players have already seen film so they have a touch of what's going on with all these iPads floating around here. They have plenty of film to watch."

By the time the players woke on Sunday, video from UCF's 56-14 win over Akron had been sent to them, with emphasis added on trick plays, what the Knights do on short yardage and their blocking schemes on special teams.

Most college teams do just fine with the old way — including Central Florida.

"No, we don't get into that stuff. We keep it old school," S Kemal Ishmael said. "We just use our film room and everything that's available to us. Coach (George) O'Leary and the coaching staff do a great job getting us ready and prepared. So we'll just keep working with what we have."

Curry vs. Dooley, the next generation

Georgia State coach Bill Curry still remembers his reaction when he learned Derek Dooley was entering the coaching business.

Curry says he asked Dooley if he had lost his mind to leave a successful legal career behind for the uncertainty of the coaching profession.

Their paths will cross again today when Dooley leads Tennessee into its home opener against Georgia State.

This isn't the first time Curry has squared off with a Dooley.

Curry coached Georgia Tech from 1980-86 when Dooley's father, Vince, was in the midst of his illustrious career at Georgia. Their connection actually runs deeper than that.

Derek Dooley and Curry's son, Bill Jr., were teammates at Virginia in 1989 and 1990. Curry says he is "eternally indebted" to Dooley mentoring his son at Virginia.

Big East: By the numbers

2 Losses by teams on their way out of the Big East, Pittsburgh and Syracuse, bound for the ACC.

32 Average points per game scored by Big East teams in the opening week.

5-2 Big East record in Week 1.

399 Yards of offense averaged by Big East teams in the opening week.

Information from the Associated Press and Orlando Sentinel was used in this report.

. fast facts

Tripping out

As much as is made of USF's geographic isolation in the Big East, none of the road trips in his first two seasons in Tampa make coach Skip Holtz's all-time top five, with the previous long — last year's trip to Connecticut — checking in at No. 7.

1. East Carolina vs. Boise State in Honolulu, 20074,859 miles

2. USF at Nevada, 20122,271 miles

3. ECU at UTEP, 20071,688 miles

4. ECU at SMU, 2005, 20091,124 miles

5. ECU at Houston, 2007; at Rice, 20061,120 miles*

* Rice's stadium is actually 7 miles west of Houston's

USF Bulls take longest flight in program history to face Nevada 09/07/12 [Last modified: Friday, September 7, 2012 9:29pm]
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