TAMPA ― Five quick facts we gathered from new USF coach Jeff Scott’s introductory press conference/rally Wednesday at the Sam and Martha Gibbons Alumni Center on campus:
1. Based on the timeline roughly laid out Wednesday by athletic director Michael Kelly, it’s fairly clear Scott was USF’s top target.
Kelly, who dismissed Charlie Strong on Dec. 1, said he had preliminary conversations with Scott “the early part of last week,” after Clemson had completed its main preparations for last Saturday night’s ACC title game. By Sunday, Kelly and new USF president Steven Currall were visiting Scott at his South Carolina home.
Currall called Scott “unequivocally our first and only choice” during his opening remarks Wednesday.
2. Scott will hire an offensive coordinator, though clearly his fingerprints will be all over the game plan.
“(The coordinator’s) gonna run the offense,” said Scott, Clemson’s co-offensive coordinator the last half-decade. “Obviously by nature I’m gonna be involved throughout the week, really monitoring it, throwing out some suggestions. And then within game, in key moments, as the head coach I’ve got to trust my instincts and my gut.”
3. Bulls fans have cause for a newfound appreciation of Clemson coach Dabo Swinney, who really encouraged Scott to take the USF job (not that he needed much prodding).
“He said, ‘Let me tell ya, this is one of the jobs you want,’” Scott said, referring to a phone conversation he had with Swinney last week.
“He said, ‘Great university, great location, great conference, great recruiting base right in your back yard. You can win there, and they have a great athletic director in Michael Kelly.’”
4. Scott’s father, former South Carolina coach (and FSU offensive coordinator) Brad Scott, will have an off-field advisory-type role on his son’s staff. “I will be involved as his eyes and ears maybe when we’re dealing with so many different aspects with what it takes to run a great program,” the elder Scott said.
5. Bulls fans seeking a sure-fire sign that Scott was the right here need look no further than the 2001 Clemson season opener. Scott, a walk-on kick holder for the Tigers, scored on a 22-yard fake field goal to help Clemson to a 21-13 victory against…wait for it…UCF.