USF announced Tuesday it has sold 16,491 football season tickets, slightly more than a 1,000-ticket increase from this time last season and one of its best figures in the last half-decade.
Additionally, student-ticket signups (all being done via mobile app this year) for Saturday's home opener are at roughly 2,200.
The school indicated last month that a number of promotions, including $99 season tickets in the lower level (near the southeast tunnel), helped boost sales. Additionally, USF has announced that all season, the first 400 cars carrying at least four students will receive free parking in Lot 3 on Raymond James Stadium's north side.
"We have to get (the fans) out to the game," Coach Charlie Strong said Tuesday. "Because that's what's gonna be critical for us."
D-LINE DEPTH: While time will indicate whether the Bulls defensive line can replicate the quality of last year's unit, Strong indicated the quantity will be much greater.
As many as a dozen down linemen could log action Saturday, including heralded freshmen such as DT Tyrone Barber and DE Rashawn Yates. The defensive-end rotation could feature no fewer than three former Hillsborough County prep stars: Vincent Jackson (Jesuit), Josh Black (Sickles) and Juwuan Brown (Jefferson).
"If there is a strong position for us on our football team right now, it's got to be our defensive front," Strong said, "because there's a lot of numbers there and a lot of guys that have played a lot."
NEW SPONSOR: USF announced a partnership Tuesday with Valley National Bank, which aligns with the USF Foundation to launch the "Valley for Veterans" program.
With each Bulls touchdown scored at Raymond James Stadium this season, USF and Valley will recognize a scholarship granted to a first-generation veteran student attending the school. The "Valley for Veterans" scholarship fund has committed a total of $75,000 in scholarships throughout the '18 season.
ODDS AND ENDS: The USF Football Radio Show makes its season debut Thursday at 6 p.m. from World of Beer on East Fowler Avenue. Pro Football Hall of Famer Derrick Brooks makes a guest appearance this week, joining Coach Charlie Strong. The one-hour show can be heard locally (820-AM) or on the Bulls Unlimited channel on iHeart Radio. … USF is 16-5 in season openers, winning its last four. The Bulls are 14-1 in season openers played at home. … Drew Fellios (play-by-play) and Forrest Conoly (analysis) will call Saturday's game on ESPN3. … Strong said senior walk-on Jake Vivonetto, Tennessee State transfer Coby Weiss and former Bulls GK Jake Stone still are battling for the place-kicker job. Sophomore Trent Schneider, a 28-year-old Australia native, is the punter; and freshman Ian Deneen is the long snapper. … While running through each position Tuesday, Strong said redshirt freshman WR Randall St. Felix "is probably the biggest surprise for us at camp right now."
AUDIBLE: "We won't be big, but we have enough speed where we can run. And that's the thing, if you can run…you have a chance to go track 'em down." — Strong on his defense