USF Bulls

during the 2015 Miami Beach Bowl  at Marlins Park on December 21, 2015 in Miami, Florida.
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Family matter prompts Danny Hope to leave USF staff

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Sometimes, believe it or not, there are things more important than football.

Earlier Thursday, speculation began making the rounds that Danny Hope might be forced to leave South Florida because of an unspecified “family matter.”  A short time later, USF announced in a press release that Hope is indeed leaving the Bulls “in order to be closer to his family.”

Hope had just completed his first season as head coach’s Willie Taggart‘s co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach.

“I would like to thank Danny for his significant contributions to the success of our program over the past season,” Taggart said. “We appreciated having him as part of our staff and I know he enjoyed being a Bull. He loved it here and I loved having him, but sometimes you have to make choices in regards to what’s best for your family. I respect Danny’s desire to do what’s best for him and his family. We wish him nothing but the best in the future.”

Hope was dismissed as Purdue’s head coach in November of 2012, spending two seasons on the coaching sidelines before joining Taggart’s staff in December of 2014.

Taggart had a pair of offensive coordinators on his staff, Hope and David Reaves.  Reaves will presumably be promoted to solo coordinator as well as maintaining the title of passing game coordinator, while Taggart intends to continue on as the Bulls’ primary play-caller.

“I expect to be able to complete our staff very quickly with an excellent offensive line coach,” Taggart said. “I will continue to call the plays and work closely with our offense, and we will build our staff around that same structure.”

AAC releases 2016 conference schedule

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The American Athletic Conference released its 2016 conference schedule highlighted by, oddly enough, non-conference games that pit league gem Houston against Oklahoma (on opening day at Houston’s NRG Stadium) and Louisville (in Houston on Nov. 19).

Those two games, more than any others, will sink or swim the conference’s chances of not only grabbing the Group of Five spot in the New Year’s Six, but a spot in the College Football Playoff itself.

The 2016 conference slate kicks off with Navy meeting Connecticut on Sept. 10 and concludes with the second annual AAC title game on Dec. 3 at a to-be-determined campus site.

The AAC led the way in scheduling Power 5 opponents — highlighted by a Week 3 schedule that will see the entire East Division punching up a weight class — and includes the likes of Florida State, Maryland, N.C. State, Virginia, Syracuse, Kansas, TCU and Oklahoma (for all intents and purposes) visiting AAC campuses.

View the full AAC slate here:

 

USF makes hiring of ex-Vols DC John Jancek official

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For the second time this offseason, Willie Taggart has added an experienced coordinator to his USF coaching staff as a position coach.

Following up on reports that had been circulating since late last week, the Bulls confirmed that John Jancek has been hired to serve as Taggart’s safeties coach.  Jancek comes to USF from Tennessee, where he spent three seasons as the Vols’ defensive coordinator before the two sides “parted ways” early last month.

“John brings a tremendous amount of experience and football knowledge to our program and our players are going to love working with him,” Taggart said in a statement. “We’re excited to add his background and input to the defensive foundation we have begun building and I look forward to his working with the very talented group of safeties we have returning.”

In addition to his time on Rocky Top, Jancek has served as a coordinator at six other college programs, including Cincinnati (2010-13) and Central Michigan (2003-05). he was also the co-coordinator at Georgia during the 2009 season.

“I am very excited for the opportunity to join the USF staff and be a part of the program Coach Taggart is building in Tampa,” Jancek said. “The future looks very bright for this program and I am looking forward to working with some very talented players in our secondary.”

A week ago, Taggart also added T.J. Weist as wide receivers coach. Weist was the offensive coordinator at UConn from 2013-14.

Two hires leaves Kliff Kingsbury with one hole to fill on Tech staff

Bulldog Football vs FIU, Saturday, 9/26/2015, Ruston, LA, photo by Donny J Crowe, Copyright:Louisiana Tech University.All Rights Reserved.(dcrowe@latech.edu) 318-257-4854
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Two down, one to go.

With three openings on his Texas Tech coaching staff at the beginning of the day, Kliff Kingsbury officially filled two of them by the end of the day with the additions of Jabbar Juluke and Kevin Patrick. The former will coach Red Raider running backs, the latter the defensive line.

Juluke spent the past three seasons as the running backs coach at Louisiana Tech. That job with the Bulldogs was his first at the collegiate level as he spent the first 18 years of his coaching career at the high school level in New Orleans.

Obviously, this will be Juluke’s first coaching foray into the Power Five world.

“We are extremely excited to add Coach Juluke to our staff,” Kingsbury said. “With his recruiting ties, energy and coaching experience, he is a valuable addition to our program.”

Patrick, meanwhile, was the defensive line coach at North Texas in 2014 and 2015. For six years prior to that, he was a defensive line coach at USF. He began his coaching career with the Bulls as an assistant in charge of defensive ends in 1996, but then left that post in 1998 and spent 11 years in private business before rejoining the program in 2008.

“We are extremely excited to add Coach Patrick to our staff,” Kingsbury said. “He has coached and developed some of the best defensive lineman in college football. He brings a wealth of experience and will be a great addition to our program.”

With the additions of Patrick and Juluke, Kingsbury now has one hole to fill on his staff, that of a defensive assistant.

USF loses DC to Indiana, stays in-house for replacement

BLOOMINGTON, IN - OCTOBER 03: Kevin Wilson the head coach of the Indiana Hoosiers runs checks the spot of the ball during the game against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Memorial Stadium on October 3, 2015 in Bloomington, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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After guiding one of the top scoring defense in the AAC, Tom Allen will be charged with turning around a Big Ten unit that desperately needs it.

In a press release, USF announced that Allen had “notified [head coach Willie] Taggart of his intention to accept a similar role at another institution” after one season with the Bulls. Roughly three hours later, Indiana announced in its own release that Kevin Wilson has swiped Allen to be his defensive coordinator.

Allen, an Indiana native, will replace Brian Knorr, who the school announced in the same release would not be returning for the 2016 season after spending the past two years as coordinator. Last season, the Hoosiers were 116th in the nation (out of 127 teams) and last in the Big Ten in giving up 37.6 points per game; under Allen last year, the Bulls’ defense was 35th in the country and fourth in the AAC in giving up 22.9 points per game.

Prior to his one-year stint at South Florida, Allen spent three years as the linebackers coach and special teams coordinator at Ole Miss. He was the defensive coordinator at Arkansas State under Hugh Freeze immediately before that.

“I did not know Tom personally, but was aware of his background and reached out to him when we decided to make a change,” Wilson said. “We made an immediate connection. Tom will bring a ton of energy and strong leadership, and our kids will play hard. This is a positive addition as we continue to take to our program to the next level.”

With Allen gone, Taggart looked to his own staff to fill the void, promoting Raymond Woodie to coordinator. The past three seasons at USF, Woodie has held the title of assistant head coach/linebackers/special teams coach.

Woodie has been a part of Taggart-led staffs the past six seasons, first at Western Kentucky and then at USF.

“It didn’t take long to identify Coach Woodie as the right person to lead our defense,” Taggart said. “He has done a great job developing a strong linebacker unit over the past three years and his positive impact on our special teams was very evident last year. Woodie has tremendously strong relationships with our players, great knowledge of our system and is well prepared to lead our defense.”

Woodie is USF’s fifth coordinator on that side of the ball in six years.