TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – After a schedule change as a result of the probable wet weather, the University of South Florida football team took to the field Friday for the first day of fall camp.
The media availability was limited to watching a handful of field goals and snapping a handful of photos as the players stretched at the end of practice.
Thankfully, Charlie Strong stopped for an interview. The head coach, who is entering his third season with the program, set the tone.
“We need to continue to build each and every day because it is going to be a process,” he said. “I told them we cannot get it done in one day. We have to slowly build each and every day where it is a level expectation and a standard. It is all about trust where guys can count on one another but it is also about guys buying into the program and having ownership of the program.”
He stressed he wants his players, his team, to own the season.
Nico Sawtelle, a linebacker returning from a neck and a shoulder injury, confirmed he is “ready to come back and play this year.”
He echoed the words of his head coach commenting on the changes he has noticed from the spring to the fall.
“We are together more as a team from spring to now, playbooks, understanding roles, coming together as brothers and being a better unit,” said Sawtelle. “This year, we are going to have fun. We are going to let no coach, no other players, no weather, no negativity interfere with our practices. We will come out here every day with enthusiasm and try to get better.”
Jordan Cronkrite, who ran the ball for the Bulls in games for the first time last season, admitted he is falling for the new offense.
“The sky is the limit for the offense,” Cronkrite said, “a lot of new stuff. Guys are very much into it. They are excited every day to see what they are going to install next and I am excited to see what everybody is going to do.”
How is the team handling the playbook of Kerwin Bell? He joined the program as the offensive coordinator in January.
“We are pretty far in it,” said Cronkrite. “Right now, we are doing the basic stuff because it is day one but I am sure tomorrow and the day after that we will get into the nitty-gritty of it.”
The Bulls have clearly committed to learning and to leading. Strong also mentioned how the players with the game experience are filling the necessary leadership roles.
“What you have is guys who have been here and understand who we are,” Strong said. “They want to win.”