TAMPA — Chris Cosh's best memory from five years with Skip Holtz at South Carolina was the way the Gamecocks went from 0-11 their first season to the high mark of back-to-back Outback Bowl victories against Ohio State in 2001-02.
So during his interview to become USF's defensive coordinator, it was with a familiar smile that he arrived at the Bulls' postseason banquet and realized it was at the Hyatt Regency, where the Gamecocks had stayed during their two Outback trips to Tampa.
"I thought I was having a flashback for a minute," said Cosh, who agreed Thursday to a two-year deal to replace Mark Snyder, who left two weeks ago to take the same job at Texas A&M.
Cosh, 52, will run a 4-3 defense at USF as he did at Kansas State, and he likely won't have to contend with the same level of high-scoring offenses as he did in the Big 12 this season, facing the likes of Oklahoma State, Baylor and Oklahoma. The other nine offenses in the Big 12 averaged 465.7 yards in 2011; the seven in the Big East that USF faced averaged 362.5 and more than a touchdown less.
Cosh has worked with top coaches over 28 years in college football — under Nick Saban at Michigan State and Lou Holtz in South Carolina, and his position coach as a linebacker at Virginia Tech was Lou Tepper, whom he later coached with at Illinois. Asked for his philosophy on defense, he kept it simple.
"We're going to run to the football, we're going to tackle well, play with great enthusiasm and be an attack-style defense," said Cosh, who met many of his players for the first time Tuesday.
Cosh has two sons both still involved in college football. Billy is a former Kansas State quarterback who just transferred to Butler County Junior College in Kansas, while J.J. played slotback at Navy, graduated last year with a degree in economics and is now part of the football staff there.
THIS AND THAT: Don't be surprised to see USF increase the allotment for Holtz's nine full-time assistants in the next month. Holtz's contract called for the pool to be negotiated in 2013, but with Cosh making $65,000 more than Snyder did, Holtz will need more than his contract's annual $100,000 for raises for his staff. … Snyder, by the way, will make $500,000 at Texas A&M according to public records released to the Tampa Bay Times, nearly double the $260,000 he made at USF last season. Aggies coach Kevin Sumlin announced Tuesday that Boise State defensive backs coach Marcel Yates will be a co-defensive coordinator with Snyder. … USF softball was picked to finish fifth out of 13 teams in the Big East's preseason poll of league coaches, which showed how wide-open the conference will be this spring. The Bulls were one of five teams to receive first-place votes, and the voting showed little separation among the top five.
Greg Auman can be reached at [email protected] and at (813) 226-3346. Check out his blog at tampabay.com/blogs/bulls and follow him at Twitter.com/gregauman.