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 having back-to-back Outback Bowl victories against Ohio State in 2001-02.
So during his interview to become USF's new defensive coordinator, it was with a smile that he arrived at the Bulls' postseason banquet and realized it was at the Hyatt Regency, the same place 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 join Holtz's staff, taking over for 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 per game in 2011; the other seven in the Big East that USF faced averaged 362.5, a difference of more than 100 yards and more than a touchdown on the scoreboard.
"I'm really excited. It's great to wake up to the sunshine," Cosh said. "Our kids are in here working out this morning, and I'm excited about spring, being able to get to know these guys, grow together and get us back into a bowl game."
He has worked with his share of 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, who 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 involved in college football -- Billy is a quarterback who just transferred to Butler County Junior College in Kansas, while J.J. graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy 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 Skip 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 $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 Times, nearly double the $260,000 he made at USF last season. What's more, Aggies coach Kevin Sumlin announced Tuesday that Boise State defensive backs coach Marcel Yates would be a co-defensive coordinator with Snyder.