Moments after Clemson’s breathtaking come-from-behind victory in Saturday night’s Fiesta Bowl, USF athletic director Michael Kelly tweeted a photo ideally suited for USF’s next football media guide.
It features new Bulls coach (and Clemson co-offensive coordinator) Jeff Scott standing on the State Farm Stadium field, his 4-year-old daughter Savannah perched atop his shoulders. Surrounding him are no fewer than three national college football reporters, presumably getting Scott’s take on the Tigers’ game-winning drive that spanned four plays, 94 yards and 78 seconds.
The image conveys triumph, accessibility, the priority of family, and national cachet.
It also summarizes why Bulls fans should be happy ― even thrilled ― their coach will remain preoccupied with out-of-state business another two weeks.
“I think it is a huge benefit for coach Scott to have the opportunity to participate in another (College Football Playoff) National Championship Game,” Kelly said Sunday in a text message to the Tampa Bay Times.
Scott, who signed only nine players during the recent early signing period, will continue dividing his time between the Tigers and Tampa until the title game Jan. 13. As a result, outlying skeptics will suggest the Bulls can ill-afford to have their coach mostly out of sight the first two weeks of such a critical recruiting month.
But USF arguably possesses no better recruiting tool than the sight and sounds of its head coach on the nation’s biggest stage.
Scott, universally considered engaging and informative with the media, will participate in countless stand-up and sit-down interviews during the title-game buildup. Everywhere his name is written or mentioned, the name “USF” is almost certainly to accompany it.
And as Saturday’s game-winning touchdown drive ― highlighting the Tigers’ 29-23 victory against Ohio State ― continues being dissected, its co-architect will be referenced frequently as USF’s new coach. Priceless publicity for the Bulls.
“For our head coach to have these experiences, along with the considerable media and exposure opportunities it will bring over the next two weeks, will undoubtedly enhance the brand of USF Football and will continue to generate excitement regarding our program’s bright future,” Kelly said.
Meantime, the half-dozen assistants already hired by Scott will mind things on campus over the next two weeks (primarily an NCAA-mandated dead period anyway), with Scott presumably around in person (recruiting more kids and coaches) at least some of the time.
After the title game in New Orleans against LSU, he’ll have three full weekends before the next signing day on Feb. 5.
By that time, Scott’s name could be more nationally prominent than ever.
So could USF’s.