an open letter to USF athletics

USF has played 101 football games since I started attending the school in 2006. This is my 9th season as a student at USF. I am not a fairweather fan; I will don a USF shirt every Saturday during football season. I will go to every home game that I can go to. I will cheer on USF no matter what. However, that doesn't that I support the direction USF football has gone in in recent years.

Let me give you a quick background…

During my undergrad years (2006-2009 seasons), USF won 65% of it's games, sold out Ray Jay, saw the school's first football ranking, rose to #2 in the rankings, saw its first preseason ranking, went to a bowl game every year, and beat numerous ranked foes along the way. Students packed the games every week, excited to see what their Bulls could do next.

USF's football performance since then has been, well, different. Our win percentage is 36%. We've been to one bowl game. We had the largest FBS team loss to an FCS team in history (at the time). We've lost countless games at the last second, by a touchdown or less. The fourth quarter collapse has been standard during USF games. Students show up when they have nothing better to do. The stadium is empty.

Our game against N.C. State yesterday made me angry. I've been frustrated with USF for years, but anger was never something that came up. USF has so much talent, yet the coaching has no idea what to do with the players. We were told that things would get better with Willie Taggart, that last year's debacle was just everyone adjusting to his new style. We were told that 2014 would be our year, that the team would start to return to its former glory. Taggart needed to get his guys in and get out players who couldn't or wouldn't adapt to his style. 2014 was going to be different.

Do you know what I've seen in 2014?

  • A team that could barely beat yet another FCS school.
  • A team that collapsed in the 4th quarter and gave up a win to a team that had six turnovers.
  • A team that never showed up for the next game against a team that struggled to beat two teams transitioning to the FBS.

Yesterday was a new low for USF football. I have never seen a team give up in a game so fast. The team wasn't outplayed. There is more than enough talent on USF to see a 50-something score game. The team gave up. After the game, I heard a player say that many players had no idea what they were supposed to be doing on the field. There is a coaching problem at USF, and it helped us hit a new low.

The ebbs and flows of college football teams is what makes the sport so unique, so interesting. Teams rise and fall all of the time. No one is expecting USF to rise back to #2 tomorrow, but we are expecting to see glimpses of a once decent team. Taggart promised this to us, and we've yet to see it. USF of the past would have easily defeated teams like Maryland and N.C. State. So why didn't we win this year?

Mark Harlan, I urge you to do something about Willie Taggart and the "coaching" staff he has assembled. Students have lost faith. We just want to be competitive against FBS teams again. We just want to be more than a cupcake team. If USF cannot go 5-7 in 2014, please search for a new coach, one who has experience coaching in the Power 5 conferences.Our players have so much potential, but it's all being squandered by a coach who wasn't ready for a team outside of the Sunbelt Conference.

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