Image Credit: USF Athletics
In the wake of Charlie Strong’s firing, a house cleaning was in order for USF Football. When Clemson’s Jeff Scott was hired in mid-December, he delivered just that by not retaining any of the assistant coaches from Strong’s tenure. Many were sad to see fan-favorite running backs coach Shaun King leave the program. Some also thought offensive coordinator Kerwin Bell should’ve been given another year to fully implement his offense. That said, Scott was still able to impress with some exciting hires to fill out the coaching staff. Let’s take a look at all of the Bulls coaching hires so we know what to expect when USF Football takes the field in September.
Jeff Scott, Head Coach:
To start, let’s look at the man himself. Coach Scott has quickly become the face of USF Football in the short time he’s been with the program. From the very start, he has been more active in the USF community and on social media than Strong was in his three years. One of the main complaints about Strong was that he seemed disconnected and apathetic, and that was reflected in game attendance, donations, and the overall energy of the fan base.
Scott, on the other hand, has given USF fans something to be excited about. On his first day in Tampa, Coach Scott took to Twitter and told the fans that this program will be “United from Start to Finish.” Fans latched onto this phrase immediately, making it a motto for the program. Meaningful interactions with the fan base like these have awoken the community and donors. The indoor practice facility saw an influx of donations shortly after Scott was hired, and USF fans are truly excited for the 2020 football season.
On the field, Scott gives USF fans a new hope as well. He comes from one of the winningest football programs in America over the last decade. Most recently, he was Clemson’s co-offensive coordinator from 2015-2019. In this stretch, Clemson went 69-4 with 2 national championships, and will compete for a 3rd next week. An impressive on-the-field resume and an ability to get involved with the community has Bulls fans eager to see the team take the field next season.
Glenn Spencer, Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers:
Glenn Spencer is one of the few hires that brings decades of experience to the job. Spencer began coaching in 1997 with West Georgia, and has coached for five other schools in the years since. He was most notably Oklahoma State’s defensive coordinator from 2011 to 2017. In five of those seven years, the Cowboys achieved 10-win seasons along with four New Year’s 6 bowl appearances. Spencer’s most recent stop was with FAU in 2019 as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach under Lane Kiffin. Under coach Spencer, the Owls defense took major strides, leading the nation in takeaways. This allowed the FAU squad to also lead the country in turnover margin at +21. Additionally, the Owls defense was 13th in the country in 3rd Down Conversions Allowed, which has been a major weakness for USF the past few years.
Overall, Spencer will be a great addition to a young coaching staff. He brings many years of experience to the program and is a proven defensive coach. Personally, this is one of my favorite hires. I believe his experience will be invaluable to one of the youngest coaching staffs in college football. Finally, if you paid attention to American Conference bowls this season, you’ll know Spencer was FAU’s interim head coach in their 52-28 dismantling of SMU.
Charlie Weis Jr., Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks:
Another hire from FAU, Charlie Weis Jr., will serve as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. At 26 years old, Weis Jr. is one of the youngest coaches on the staff. Despite his youth, he still brings valuable experience. He worked under Nick Saban for two years (2015-2016) as an offensive analyst. In 2017, he took the same position with the Atlanta Falcons. Most recently, Weis Jr. spent 2018 and 2019 as FAU’s offensive coordinator. Both years, the Owls offense ranked 14th nationally en route to a 2019 C-USA Championship where they trounced UAB 49-6.
Charlie Weis Jr. is seen as an up-and-coming coach that will hopefully blossom with USF. He will have the biggest test of his career with a Bulls offense that has been a major weakness since 2017. We hope to see more energy on that side of the ball in 2020, so hopefully, hiring a young and hungry coordinator will provide the spark that’s needed.
Daniel Da Prato, Special Teams:
Daniel Da Prato has been coaching for 25 years as a special teams and receivers coach. He produced multiple All-American players at the FCS level. He then produced three All-Pac-12 receivers in his three seasons at Colorado. Most recently, he was in a special teams quality control position at Arkansas. Da Prato puts an emphasis on blocking punts and kicks. Interestingly, Colorado blocked their first punt in eight years under his coordination. Look for the Bulls to be more aggressive on special teams in 2020.
Allen Mogridge, Offensive Line:
Offensive line will be a pivotal position in the 2020 campaign. In 2019, the offensive line was arguably the worst position group. Allen Mogridge looks to turn those struggles around. Morgridge comes from FIU, where he coached for three seasons. In his last 2 seasons, FIU’s offensive line was ranked Top 10 nationally in sacks allowed, paving the way for the offense to set school records in passing. Before FIU, Mogridge had 17 years of coaching experience at schools like North Carolina, UCF, Georgia Southern, Temple, and Buffalo. He will have an enormous task ahead of him at USF, but has plenty of experience.
Xavier Dye, Wide Receivers:
Xavier Dye played receiver at Clemson under Jeff Scott from 2007-2010. Dye spent 2017 and 2018 as a graduate assistant at his alma mater. In this time, he worked with receivers and made two CFP appearances, winning one national championship. In 2019, Dye was a receivers coach at West Virginia. Dye fills the same position at USF, and while he doesn’t have an extensive coaching history, Jeff Scott expressed how glad he was to get to work with him again.
Joey King, Tight Ends:
Joey King comes to USF from Coastal Carolina where he spent one season as wide receivers coach. Before that, he was a head coach at the high school level at Cartersville (GA), where he coached for 5 seasons. In that time, Cartersville won 2 state titles and reached the state title game 4 times. This was assisted by the fact that King’s starting quarterback was none other than Trevor Lawrence. Scott was no doubt familiar with King and his coaching style from Lawrence’s recruitment. I love this hire because King is a winner. Having coaches who win is an important mentality to bring to a staff.
Pat White, Running Backs:
In a surprise move, West Virginia legend Pat White was hired as USF’s running backs coach. White will replace fan favorite Shaun King in that position. Typically, the running back coach is a glorified recruiter – let’s hope he can be as good as Shaun King. In the Big East days, White had a complicated history with the Bulls. He started 4 games against USF, losing twice in a couple of the biggest wins in USF history. The first was in 2006, when an unranked USF squad took down #7 WVU in Morgantown. Then, in 2007, #18 USF knocked off #5 WVU in front of a sold out Raymond James Stadium. In both games Pat White was responsible for a USF defensive touchdown that allowed the Bulls to win the game.
Outside of those two games against USF, White was an elite athlete and one of the best running quarterbacks in college football. White is a WVU legend, and many Mountaineers fans want the university to “Retire 5” – White’s number. White comes to USF from Alcorn State, where he coached back-to-back SWAC Offensive Players of the Year at the quarterbacks coach position. I believe White will quickly become a fan favorite at USF if he can recruit.
Da’Quan Bowers, Defensive Line:
Another Clemson guy joins Jeff Scott’s staff at defensive line coach. Da’Quan Bowers was a star at Clemson, and was selected in the second round of the 2011 NFL draft in 2011 by the Buccaneers. After spending five years with the Bucs, Bowers returned to Clemson in 2018. While finishing his degree, Bowers worked with the defensive line. This could be a good addition to the coaching staff since Bowers comes from a great winning culture. Creating a new culture will be important for USF going forward and getting guys like Bowers and Dye from Clemson will go a long way towards that goal. On the other end of this, Bowers’ time in Tampa playing for the Bucs brings a nice familiarity with the area and name recognition for Bucs fans.
Jules Montinar, Cornerbacks:
Jules Montinar has great experience working with some legendary college coaches. He spent 2 years as an assistant at Alabama with Nick Saban and Kirby Smart. From 2016-2018, he was with Texas State, winning the 2017 Sun Belt Recruiter of the Year. Most recently, he was in a defensive quality control position with Georgia. His experience working with elite coaches and his recruiting prowess will be a major asset for USF. Montinar will inherit a very talented group of cornerbacks next year, featuring KJ Sails, Nick Roberts, and Mike Hampton. He will look to keep that position strong through recruiting in the future.
Wes Neighbors, Safeties Coach:
As expected, Scott will be working with a pair of defensive backs coaches. Wes Neighbors will fill the safeties coach role. Neighbors spent the past two years in the same position at FAU under Glenn Spencer. As mentioned in the entry for Spencer, the Owls defense led the nation in turnovers last year. Prior to FAU, Neighbors was a defensive analyst at his alma mater, Alabama, where he won two SEC Championships and one National Championship. This hire makes a lot of sense – Glenn Spencer wanted to bring one of his guys on board. It also fits the theme of bringing in guys from winning cultures.