The bar has been set high for South Florida as Charlie Strong prepares for his second season at the helm of the Bulls. Focusing on establishing an unmistakable identity for the program to avoid any confusion on the recruiting trail with rival UCF, Strong is not shy about saying what will or will not work for South Florida this season.
“People think UCF,” Strong said in a story published by The Tampa Bay Times. ” ‘Hey, aren’t you on that team that went undefeated?’ A lady in Atlanta asked us that. I told her no, we weren’t that team.”
“I don’t know the number, but we have to have a good year,” Strong added. “We had 11 wins and 10 wins the last two seasons. … No, 7-6 won’t work this season.”
South Florida, complete with new uniforms this season, has some legitimate question marks on the roster but the Bulls do have enough in them to put together a solid season once again. Will it be good enough to get ahead of UCF? That remains to be seen, but getting the Knights at home in the regular season finale could be beneficial for Strong. The bigger question at hand is what a successful season could do for Strong on the job front. After landing at South Florida after being removed as the head coach of Texas, many have wondered if Strong will eventually return to a power conference job again. Only he may know for sure what his ambitions are, but he is certainly saying all the right things as South Florida’s coach right now.
“What people need to realize is that I’m not here to run out,” Strong said. “People think I’m going to run out. Once people see I’m here to run this program, we can build on it. I want to be here. I really am happy to be here.”
Strong has power conference program coaching experience, of course, between his stints at Louisville and Texas, and a successful run at South Florida would likely keep his name on some radars once the coaching carousel opens up between the 2018 and 2019 seasons, and any offseason after as long as he sticks around in Tampa.