USF's Holtz on the hot seat heading into game vs. Pitt
Before this forgettable season, South Florida coach Skip Holtz suffered similar adversity one other time. In fact, he helped conquer it when he was his father Lou's offensive coordinator at South Carolina.
In 1999, the Gamecocks finished 0-11. A year later, they won eight games and went to the Outback Bowl.
South Florida (3-8, 1-5 Big East), which will welcome Pitt (5-6, 2-4) on Saturday night to Raymond James Stadium, isn't as far in the college football darkness as those '99 Gamecocks.
But some USF fans are getting close.
One man was pictured in the Tampa Tribune wearing a bag over his head, with the words “Fire Holtz” in big, black letters. “Fire Skip Holtz” pages are available on Facebook and Twitter for fans to voice displeasure. People are disappointed after the Bulls were picked to finish second in the Big East preseason media poll. Four voters chose USF No. 1.
Holtz hopes to stick around long enough to rebuild the program, but he stays above the rhetoric. After all, he signed a contract extension in June that will pay him $2 million per year through 2017, and USF owes him a $2.5 million buyout if he is fired.
“I don't coach that way,” Holtz said when asked if he was worried about his job. Athletic director Doug Woolard refused comment.
“I've been through hard times, been through difficult times,” Holtz told the Tampa Bay Times. “There's no doubt this is a difficult time. I look at (that) we're close, but we haven't gotten it done.”
Holtz has been especially upset by a series of tight losses — one point to Syracuse, two to Louisville and four to Ball State.
He said the only time the team hasn't been competitive in his three seasons at USF was the second half of Pitt's 44-17 victory last year at Heinz Field.
USF entered that game with a 4-0 record, including a 23-20 victory at Notre Dame, but it has lost 15 of 19 games since (2-11 in the Big East).
In fact, the seniors have won only 24 games in four seasons, a program low for a USF senior class.
“I know it hasn't been the type of year everyone expected when we came into this,” Holtz said. “But there is a great deal of love and respect amongst this team for the senior class and the character they have shown and the way they have kept this thing together.”
Chief among those seniors is four-year starting quarterback B.J. Daniels, who broke his ankle Nov. 3. He was replaced by Bobby Eveld, who suffered a separated shoulder in the next game. Redshirt freshman Matt Floyd, who started a 27-10 loss to Cincinnati last week, will play against Pitt.
Holtz said Daniels has attended many practices since getting hurt.
“Obviously we miss his productivity and his 10,000 yards of offense,” Holtz said. “But as much as anything, we miss his leadership.
“He was definitely the battery life. He was the one who turned the lights on.”
Notes: Pitt remains in the mix for the The Beef ‘O' Brady's Bowl on Dec. 21 in St. Petersburg, Fla. Bowl officials tweeted: “We'll see if Pitt loses to USF. If Pitt wins, there's a good chance they'll come to St. Pete.” ... Wide receiver Devin Street (ribs) and tight end Hubie Graham (shoulder, ankle) have been practicing and were expected to make the trip to Tampa.
Jerry DiPaola is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-320-7997.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- On senior day, Pitt not giving up the fight
- Pitt found opponent it had hoped for in Hawaii
- Penn State wrestling gets best of Pitt again
- Pitt coach Dixon says finding right balance for schedule no easy task
- Pitt notebook: Voytik fumbles trying to rally Panthers late
- Pitt women set tone early in 85-64 rout of Michigan
- Pitt secondary coach Douglas makes needed adjustments
- Murrysville native Hickey carves out fine career on O-line with Syracuse