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Joey Knight, Times Staff Writer

Joey Knight

A fourth-generation Floridian, Joey Knight was born in Tampa and raised in Zephyrhills, where he still resides. He moved to the Times in July 2006 after 15 years at the Tampa Tribune, which included a seven-year stint (1997-2004) as University of Florida beat writer. He began covering the University of South Florida athletic department for the Times in 2013. A married father of three, he enjoys running, classic television and classic heavy-metal music.

Phone: (813) 310-6328

E-mail: jknight@tampabay.com

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  1. USF loses co-offensive coordinator Hope, may add King

    College

    TAMPA — USF co-offensive coordinator Danny Hope, credited with helping develop the Bulls' resurgent "Gulf Coast Offense" in 2015, is resigning after one year for family reasons.

    Meantime, former Bucs quarterback Shaun King is expected to join Willie Taggart's staff as quarterbacks coach, as early as Monday.

    Various online reports indicated former Cincinnati offensive line coach Darren Hiller will replace Hope. While USF did not confirm those reports, Taggart said in a news release he hopes to complete his staff "very quickly."...

    OT	162745	- - DELIVER TO:	sports	- -	7/28/2003	- -	Lake Buena Vista	- -	9. Shaun King (10) passes Monday (7/28/2003) morning during training camp at Disney's Wide World of Sports in Lake Buena Vista.	- -	Times Photo by:	Brendan Fitterer	- -	Story By:	Roger Mills	- -	SCANNED BY:	BTF	- -  RUN DATE:
  2. Danny Hope leaves Bulls; former Bucs QB Shaun King a candidate to join

    Blog

    USF co-offensive coordinator/line coach Danny Hope, credited with helping develop the Bulls' resurgent "Gulf Coast Offense" last season, is resigning for family reasons.

    The news was first reported by 247Sports. Meantime, former Buccaneers QB Shaun King is believed to be a candidate to join Willie Taggart's staff, the Tampa Bay Times has learned.

    Various online reports indicated former Cincinnati offensive line coach Darren Hiller would replace Hope, but a USF spokesman indicated no further coaching announcements are expected today.  In a USF news release, Taggart said he hoped to complete his staff "very quickly."...

    Shaun King replaced injured starter Trent Dilfer midway through the 1999 season and led Tampa Bay to the NFC title game.
  3. Bulls release spring practice dates

    Blog

    For the third consecutive year, USF's spring practice will culminate with an on-campus intrasquad game.

    The Bulls released their spring information Thursday, confirming all practices -- the first of which is set for March 23 -- will be open to the public. The spring game is set for Saturday, April 16 at 4 p.m. at Corbett Stadium (home to USF soccer). The contest can be heard live on 820-AM.

    At least 14 of the 15 spring workouts will be held on campus.

    "I'm really excited about this spring because of (increased depth)," Coach Willie Taggart said last week....

    USF coach Willie Taggart (right) and junior tailback Marlon Mack begin spring practices March 23.
  4. Former Bulls star Andre Hall arrested

    Blog

    USF career rushing leader Andre Hall was arrested by St. Petersburg police early Thursday morning on a pair of misdemeanor charges including disorderly conduct/brawling.

    Hall, 33, posted a total bond of $763 on the charges -- which included a failure to appear in court for a suspended license -- and was released. Hall currently runs his own bay area-based moving company.

    According to a sworn complaint, Hall was involved in a brawl inside the Somethin' Different nightclub at 2420 Central Ave. in St. Petersburg shortly after midnight. As a result of the fight, several patrons were struck and several chairs knocked over, according to the complaint. ...

    Despite playing only two seasons for USF (as a junior college transfer), he remains Andre Hall remains the school's career rushing king (2,731 yards).
  5. Eriksen begins 20th season as Bulls softball coach

    Blog

    After much anticipation, a fiercely competitive, outspoken New York native will kick up a little dust Friday on USF's campus.

    In other news, Donald Trump will speak at the Sun Dome.

    Bulls softball icon Ken Eriksen, the most successful coach in USF athletics history (818 wins and counting) embarks on his 20th season when the Bulls face South Carolina on Friday to kick-start the USF-Wilson DeMarini Tournament. On Wednesday, during the school's softball/baseball media day, Eriksen discussed this year's club and how he has changed in the last two decades.

    How has Ken Eriksen evolved in 20 years?
    "We were actually talking about this the other day, what do I know now that I didn't know back then? And I think more than anything else, I know about relationships more. I think it's important to know your players. I think it's important to know, without diminishing the other 20 players on your team, who Lee Ann Spivey is, what makes her tick; and to know how far you can push an Erica Nunn. But I believe that those 20 years have helped me not only coach this team but coach the (U.S. women's) national team. ... And then one of the big things is, I think it's important for players to know that you have vulnerability so they can have a trust in what you're doing and realize that everything you do is for their development, not just as players but as people."...

    USF softball coach Ken Eriksen (far right) addressed reporters Wednesday with (left to right) catcher Lee Ann Spivey, pitcher Erica Nunn and first-year pitching coach Jess Moore.
  6. Could USF's women host the NCAAs again?

    Blog

    As atmosphere goes, USF women's basketball reached its apex last March when thousands streamed into the Sun Dome for a pair of NCAA Tournament contests.

    Question is, will a sequel materialize in 2016?

    A month before Selection Monday, the 22nd-ranked Bulls (17-6, 10-3 American Athletic Conference) appear in decent position to earn early-round hosting rights for a second consecutive year.

    Yet "decent" remains a far cry from "optimal," and the Bulls can bridge the span between the two this Monday.

    USF, 1-4 against RPI top-50 programs, plays at No. 12 Louisville in a nationally televised rematch of last season's NCAA second-rounder -- a 60-52 Cardinals triumph.

    Defeat the Cardinals, then avenge its two non-UConn conference losses (Memphis, Temple) at home later this month, and the Bulls presumably would boast a resume sufficient to stay home for the NCAA's opening weekend.

    "You don't know what those guys in that committee are deciding," Coach Jose Fernandez said following Tuesday's 77-65 victory against Tulane.

    "I don't think one game's gonna decide whether we host or not. ... I think the committee will take into consideration us not having (Laura) Ferreira and (Alisia) Jenkins and losing at Memphis in overtime, right? You would think."

    Jenkins, who sprained her left ankle in a Jan. 5 home romp against UCF, aggravated the injury two weeks later at Memphis and was limited to two minutes in the Bulls' 88-87 overtime loss. In Saturday's two-point loss at Temple, Ferreira (torn plantar fascia) was out and Jenkins played 26 minutes.

    Ferreira (10.1 ppg, 4.9 rpg) remains out for now, but Jenkins (10.2 ppg, 11.7 rpg) grabbed 20 rebounds in 36 minutes Tuesday against Tulane.

    "We need to get those guys back hopefully for the stretch run and into conference tournament so (the committee) can see we're a different team with those two guys on the floor," Fernandez said.

    To be sure, the committee will be watching Monday....

    USF senior Alisia Jenkins, recovering from a sprained ankle, had 20 rebounds Tuesday against Tulane.
  7. No. 22 USF women don't look ahead, beat Tulane

    College

    TAMPA -— Six nights shy of a big Monday matchup with Louisville, No. 22 USF could nary afford a flat Tuesday against Tulane.

    An announced Sun Dome crowd of 2,011 didn't encounter one. Three nights after a two-point loss at Temple, the Bulls (17-6, 10-3 American Athletic Conference) owned the glass and — for most of the night — the 3-point line in a 77-65 triumph.

    Senior Alisia Jenkins, logging her most extensive action since spraining her left ankle on Jan. 5, finished with 20 rebounds in 36 minutes. At halftime, Jenkins had outrebounded the Green Wave 12-11....

    USF’s Courtney Williams goes to the basket for two of her 18 points, including a key three-point play as Tulane was rallying.
  8. American Athletic Conference releases 2016 USF Bulls football schedule

    College

    TAMPA — For at least the foreseeable future, the UCF-USF football rivalry is headed back to a Saturday.

    The 2016 Knights-Bulls matchup — set for Nov. 26 at Raymond James Stadium — caps the Bulls' American Athletic Conference schedule released Tuesday morning. The past three games between the rivals have been staged on Black Friday (2013, '14) and Thanksgiving night ('15)....

    Marlon Mack, taking a hit from former Lakewood star Shaquill Griffin, has a USF season record eighth game of 100 rushing yards. OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times 

  9. Signing day over, but Bulls likely aren't

    Blog

    After an extended stretch on the road, on the phones and generally on edge, USF's coaches have exhaled.

    In the wake of another recruiting season generally deemed solid if not spectacular, Willie Taggart and his staff have gotten reacquainted with their families, while the fax machine on the Selmon Center's second floor again has been relegated to cumbersome dust collector.

    But just because the coaches might have downshifted a gear doesn't mean they're shutting down. To the contrary, look for the Bulls to add a few more pieces -- some of them prominent names -- to the roster in the coming weeks and months.

    Such is the m.o. of the Taggart regime. In the same way women's basketball coach Jose Fernandez has developed a top-20 program via strong international recruiting, Taggart has partially rebuilt the Bulls via the transfer/late signee route.

    Last year alone, four prominent transfers -- LB Cecil Cherry (Texas), S Austin Hudson (Wisconsin), WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling (N.C. State) and QB Asiantii Woulard (UCLA) -- joined USF's program well after signing day. In the summer of 2014, WR A.J. Legree (Kentucky) and DE Kevin Bronson (late freshman enrollee) came aboard.

    Look for that pattern to continue this year. NCAA rules prohibit coaches from speaking about prospects before they're signed, but recent buzz around the program indicates this summer's transfer haul -- even after a judicious vetting process -- could be as prosperous as 2015.

    Among those possibly on the Bulls' board is former Under Armour All-American DE Marques Ford, an East Bay High alumnus granted his release from Rutgers in December. Additionally, Florida fourth-year junior edge rusher Jeremi Powell -- a Pinellas Park alumnus -- is believed to be seeking a new home as a graduate transfer.

    Even if neither lands in Tampa, the Bulls runway still figures to be busy in the coming months....

    Expect coach Willie Taggart to add a few more names to his 2016 roster in the coming months.
  10. USF suffers worst defeat of season against No. 12 SMU

    College

    TAMPA — Of all the issues USF second-year coach Orlando Antigua has been forced to address in this destitute season, playing time isn't one of them. These days, every Bull gets ample minutes.

    Every healthy Bull, that is.

    Seven minutes into Sunday's 92-58 loss to No. 12 SMU, Antigua found himself down to five available scholarship players when forward Bo Zeigler had to be assisted off the Sun Dome floor after taking a shot to the left knee....

    SMU guard Nic Moore (11) passes around South Florida guard Jahmal McMurray (0) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco) FLBB108
  11. Bulls rookie Garrett Zech earns preseason honor

    Blog

    Bulls OF Garrett Zech, who makes his collegiate debut two weeks from tonight at home, has been chosen the American Athletic Conference Preseason Freshman of the Year by d1Baseball.com.

    A 15th-round draft choice of the Dodgers who opted for college, Zech is joined by three teammates -- all of whom also were drafted -- on the website's AAC top-10 impact freshmen list. OF Chris Chatfield, a former Spoto High star, is third; while INF Coco Montes is fifth while INF/C Joe Genord is 10th....

  12. Did Scott Frost take signing day swipe at USF?

    Blog

    Maybe it's just us, reading too deeply into something. Chances are, we're transforming a benign observation into verbal kindling for a rivalry that's already flammable.

    Or perhaps our observation is on the mark, and new UCF coach Scott Frost was taking a swipe -- subconsciously or not -- at his rivals down the interstate.

    While Bulls coaches shamelessly reveled in their signing day success Wednesday, when a video snippet of them dancing in their war room surfaced on social media, Frost indicated in his signing day press conference such animation isn't his style.

    Check out the 16:50 mark of this video from Frost's presser, where he addresses his more subdued signing day philosophy.

    "Sorry guys, you're not gonna have a video camera in our office watching us celebrate if a kid commits or doesn't commit," he says, "because we're gonna go to battle with whatever kids want to be here, and want kids that want to be a part of this program."

    In a follow-up question, Frost, who signed 20 recruits on Wednesday, was asked why he doesn't care for the whole spectacle of signing day.

    "I think just too much is made of it," he says.

    "If you probably went back and looked for five years, a lot of the people that coaches are on TV celebrating about probably never played one down of college football. There's a lot more that goes into it than that. We're certainly excited to add talented people to our organization, and we're gonna get as excited as anybody and have as much fun with it as anybody. But signing day isn't gonna win you games."...

  13. Taggart's take: Bulls coach talks up his newcomers

    Blog

    While Willie Taggart didn't elaborate on all 18 of his newest Bulls at Wednesday's signing day news conference, he came pretty close.

    Here's what he had to say specifically on most of his newcomers:

    S Josh Dunn (6-0, 195)
    "A heck of a talent. He's one of those kids that he's smart and he's so nice, you wouldn't think he's that physical on the football field. But when you turn it on he's out there shortening guys' necks."

    OT Christion Gainer (6-6, 310)
    "He's a tackle, that's for sure. He's a big one and we expect big things from him."

    DE LaDarrius Jackson (6-4, 243)
    "Great kid. I mean, he's always around, always smiling. You can tell he's one of those kids who really appreciates being here, and he's willing to work. ... I talk with Coach O (strength coach Irele Oderinde) and talk to some of his teammates, and they all rave about him. I think that speaks volumes when a guy can just come in your program and the whole football team likes him already."

    DE Frank Johnson (6-5, 235)
    "Both of 'em (Jackson and Johnson) are really good football players. Frank Johnson, he's gonna have to sleep and spend the night in the weight room with Coach O, but both of 'em are very talented."

    OL Logan MacDonald (6-4, 270)
    "He's a tackle who's not as big as those other guys, but you talk about talented and physical, I think that kid's gonna be special for us, to be honest with you. He plays the game like you're supposed to. He's physical and he gets after it and he just loves doing it."

    QB Chris Oladokun (6-2, 184)
    "I think we always want to have at least four guys on scholarship at the quarterback position. ... You look at college football nowadays, you can't have enough of 'em. We wanted to sign a good quarterback that can come in here and compete and be able to continue the momentum that we've started, but also challenge the guys that we have here as well, to continue to get better."

    LB Andre Polk (6-4, 215)
    "I think the whole Bulls nation is gonna hear about him early. He's a kid that I think is under the radar. We kept him a secret for a while, but now I think everybody's gonna hear about him." (comment came during an interview with 620-AM)

    WR Darnell Salomon (6-3, 210)
    "He's big, he's strong and he's fast. When you have all those combinations, it can be scary out there at the receiver position. That's what we expect from him, some scary play out there on the football field."

    S Craig Watts (6-0, 190)
    "He's one of those kids from Day 1, you just sensed that he really wanted to be here. He was on campus a lot. When you saw him on campus, he was always smiling, he was always excited about being there, and we stayed with him the whole time. He committed elsewhere and we got him back and that was good to see. Now we have him for sure."

    C Michael Wiggs (6-3, 290)
    "There's never a dull moment around when Mike's around. He's a great kid, great academically, one heck of a football player. You look at him and you meet him and you're like, 'Man, he's so nice. He's too nice.' You wouldn't think that this kid plays the way he does. But when you turn on the film it's like, 'This don't match up a little bit. You meet him and he's nice, and then on the field he's trying to hurt you.' ... He's a leader. He's gonna be a great leader for us, I think."...

    USF coach Willie Taggart said he thinks new offensive lineman Logan MacDonald is "gonna be special for us."
  14. FSU lands a No. 1 signing class as UF falls off

    College

    After four years of building relationships with each recruiting class, Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said he still never knows exactly what to expect on national signing day.

    "I wish there was," Fisher said. "Every year I'd sleep a lot better knowing what's coming."

    Fisher probably slept just fine Wednesday night after his Seminoles landed their deepest haul of his tenure and claimed ESPN's No. 1 recruiting class in the country....

    Tampa Catholic’s Nate Craig-Myers draws a crowd, with no one more important than his mother, Nicki Craig, right as he signs with Auburn. Brother Josh Johnson, left, shows his pride.
  15. New UCF staff flies fast, furious to fill needs

    College

    Introduced as UCF coach only two months ago, Scott Frost was forced to employ the same philosophy to recruiting — fast, furious and efficient — as he intends to apply to his offense.

    Knights fans can only hope what unfolded on signing day carries over into September. Working basically on the fly, Frost and his staff assembled a 20-player class ranked second in the American Athletic Conference by Rivals....