TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – “We have a whole different vibe in the locker room with the DBs.”
Bentlee Sanders, a sophomore defensive back on the University of South Florida football team, utilized the word “different” in an encouraging manner.
“It is more of a positive vibe,” added Sanders. “I think that is why we are all connecting and all making plays out there. We get a pick every day now.”
The new defensive backs coach, Steve Ellis, echoed Sanders words.
“They are working hard,” he said. “The great thing about this group is, when you go in the locker room, they are all playing ping-pong. When you go in there, they are playing pool together. You go into the cafeteria and they are all eating together so you get a sense of the brotherhood those guys are bringing.”
Ellis joined the team in February after spending 10 seasons at Middle Tennessee State University. He was the cornerbacks coach as well as the recruiting coordinator. He also stepped into the defensive coordinator role for four seasons with the Blue Raiders.
He said he is excited to be a member of the USF football program. Ironically, he had a connection with the team before he accepted the position.
“I always had a dream to work for Charlie Strong. When I started coaching,” he said, “my old coaches in 2003 said, ‘Hey, get four or five guys you want to emulate,’ and it is amazing one of those guys was Charlie Strong.”
“We are growing,” said Sanders. “It is a day by day process. We are still working. We are still learning. We still have a bunch of plays that have not been put into the book and [less than] three weeks until we play Wisconsin. We will be ready for them.”