TAMPA — Three days ago, they were scattered across the country, in Ohio, West Virginia, North Carolina and Florida, but the nine assistants on Skip Holtz's football staff are now wearing the same colors and trying to make a frenetic finish to recruiting season.
"It's been a hectic 48 hours," said new assistant Todd Fitch, who was Holtz's co-offensive coordinator at East Carolina.
USF already had much of its class in place before Holtz was announced as head coach on Friday, so much of the new staff's focus is getting a quick confirmation of the players already committed. "We want to make sure they'll fit, with both good character and athletic tools," Fitch said.
One thing Holtz hasn't done is try to lure his ECU commitments south. Fitch said with the Pirates still without a coach, the staff is doing "the ethical thing" and is "hands off" with recruits who had pledged to Holtz in his old job.
BELIEVE THIS: Executive associate athletic Bill McGillis, who worked with athletic director Doug Woolard on the football search, said the amount of misinformation reported about USF's search was impressive.
"There is an unfortunate trend, I believe, of agents flat-out fabricating information, providing to the media, and the media believing it to be credible and reporting it," McGillis said. "It's really amazing to see some of the things. We were really hunkered down and not paying attention to the media, but occasionally we'd hear something."
McGillis said the speculation was never so much or so far off the mark that it distracted from the process. "The level of candidates we're visiting with, they understand there's going to be a lot of speculation, a lot of erroneous speculation, and a lot of people promoting their self-interests," he said. "Guys know that."
TOP HONOR: Former USF soccer star Zak Boggs, the Big East male scholar-athlete of the year in 2008-09, has earned another honor, the Collegiate Wooden Cup, awarded to the athlete deemed to have made the greatest positive influence in the lives of others as determined by Athletes for a Better World. Boggs, who beat out top athletes such as Texas QB Colt McCoy, was honored at ceremonies in Atlanta Tuesday night.
THIS AND THAT: USF's cheerleading team finished third at last weekend's national championships in Orlando. The Bulls matched their 2003 squad for the team's highest finish. … PG Anthony Crater needed two games to get his rhythm back after a year away from basketball. The Ohio State transfer went 0-for-13 in his first two games, then found his shot and scored 10 in Saturday's win against Rutgers. … Freshman Lindsey Lamar, who made a splash as a running back in football, has made a strong debut in track. The Hillsborough grad ran the 60 meters in 6.77 seconds, the fastest time in the Big East this year and faster than all but one time in the conference last year.
Times writer Greg Auman can be reached at email@example.com and at (813) 226-3346. Check out his blog at blogs.tampabay.com/usf and follow him at Twitter.com/gregauman.