Charlie Strong The New South Florida Head Coach: What Does It All Mean?
South Florida hires Charlie Strong as its new head coach. What does it all mean?
Did South Florida just get an upgrade?
It took a while for Texas to rebuild, and many believe that 2017 should be the payoff for everything Charlie Strong created.
But it’s going to be Tom Herman who gets to benefit.
Everyone likes Strong and no one wanted to see him go from a personality standpoint. Throughout the entire process in Austin, he conducted himself with class, making it easy for him to fit right in to a new job right away.
And now he takes over a USF gig that Willie Taggart built up into an American Athletic Conference power. Strong, though, proved himself at Louisville, and could’ve all but picked his job as a defensive coordinator if he wanted it.
Taggart was great at WKU, but the run at USF was relatively recent after a rocky start. As good as Taggart was and is, there’s a chance the Bulls aren’t going to fall off a bit, if not improve, with this hire.
Huge, Giant Win For Texas – maybe
It’s the equivalent of divorcing your wife, and then getting out of making alimony payments because she remarried right away.
Strong is owed at least $10 million over the next few years from Texas as part of the buyout for canning him, but that gets dropped – potentially – half depending on Strong’s USF contract.
It’s a win for everyone all the way around – unless Strong and his agent figure out that they can backload the USF contract to Year Three, so he can get paid as much of the Texas money as possible.
What is Strong walking into?
A possible heater.
RB Marlon Mack should be a part of an NFL backfield soon, but QB Quinton Flowers is a burgeoning star. In all, seven starters return to a terrific offense that finished fifth in the nation in rushing and seventh in scoring. The firepower will be there, and it starts up front with a solid, veteran line.
However, the defense struggled too much and needs some retooling. Fortunately, eight starters are back along with a great depth rotation at almost every spot. Seven of the top nine tacklers return, and other than LB Nigel Harris, all the top playmakers in the backfield will be back.
Can this hire help the Big 12 cause in any way?
In my never-ending goal to get UCF and USF into the Big 12 – geographically to expand the brand, these two would be ideal for expansion – could a coach of Strong’s talent and upside be enough to make the program big enough over the next five years to make the move? At the very least, if Strong does for USF what he did for Louisville – going 23-3 in his last two years and making it a national power – the Big 12 might be far more interested. At least that’s the school’s hope.
Poor Lane Kiffin
The music has stopped and he’s without a chair.
Everyone knows Kiffin is destined to someday take over a big-time Power Five job, so Houston, South Florida, and everyone else didn’t want to do much to give him a shot. Strong could and should be around for five year or so and could and should make the program his. Kiffin is just waiting for Nick Saban to get bored and leave – if that ever happens.
Kiffin would’ve been a great get for USF, but considering Strong’s history as the Florida defensive coordinator and assistant over a few different stints, and knowing how he’ll be able to recruit the area and take to Tampa, he should be terrific, too.