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Jacksonville Looking To Lure South Florida For Neutral-Site Game

The Tampa Tribune
Published:   |   Updated: May 25, 2013 at 02:42 PM
NEWPORT, R.I. -

Gator Bowl President Rick Catlett wants the University of South Florida to play a neutral-site game in the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville and has had several discussions with USF athletic director Doug Woolard about the possibility.

"They're in our conference affiliated with the postseason bowl game, they're building a hell of a program and their fan base is excited," Catlett said. "It makes sense to us."

The Gator Bowl annually hosts the Florida-Georgia game and is looking to host another contest in September, Catlett said. The Gator Bowl would prefer USF to play a team from the SEC, ACC or Notre Dame. Florida State is playing Colorado in Jacksonville this year.

Catlett said 2014 was a possibility. Woolard said it could happen earlier if the right opponent was available and as long as USF has six home games for that season.

"It's our goal and effort to do it," Catlett said.

HENDRICK'S RETURN ON HOLD: New USF defensive line coach John Hendrick, who suffered a heart attack July 1, visited his cardiologist Monday but was not released to return to work.

He said he will undergo a nuclear stress test Friday, but it's unknown when he could return.

MOUNTAINEER IDOL: West Virginia coach Bill Stewart isn't shy about the importance of QB Pat White to the Mountaineers' program.

"We should put a statue up for that kid." Stewart said. "I shouldn't say that, but I tell the alumni, savor what you're seeing."

YANKEE PRIDE? West Virginia LB Reed Williams has a simple explanation why the Mountaineers have lost two consecutive games against USF.

"They've got our number right now," he said. "They did a great job with our schemes."

In last year's game in Tampa, the Mountaineers arrived wearing New York Yankees caps. Williams said they were given to the team the night before the game at a team meeting.

"Coach Rich Rodriguez gave it to us for motivation, to get us pumped up," Williams said. "I don't think it worked out to his plan. It was a tough loss. He was trying to get us motivated. I'm sure there was a meaning somewhere. I don't know what it was."

Williams said he didn't wear his hat because "I'm a Braves fan."

OLD NEWS: Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese said a report this week that the league was talking to Army and Navy about possibly joining the league was "absolutely false."

"I haven't had a conversation with Army or Navy in a year and a half, two years," he said. "We didn't know back then if it was the right thing for us. We wanted to explore, they looked at it, it wasn't right and we let it drop."

NOTES: USF junior CB Theo Wilson, a Pearl River (Miss.) Community College transfer, must complete additional school work at Hillsborough Community College before he can become eligible and join the Bulls. Wilson will not be available for the start of Monday's practices. ... USF's season opener against Tennessee-Martin on Aug. 30 at 7:30 p.m. will be televised on Catch 47. ... USF's helmet was voted "cooler" than USC's in an ESPN.com poll Tuesday. The Bulls advance to next week's second round in the 16-team bracket style "coolest helmet" playoff against Florida State or Ohio State. ... USF coach Jim Leavitt on the USF-Miami series that begins next season. "I hope it continues for eternity," he said. ... Rutgers coach Greg Schiano, a former NFL assistant, said the Big East's depth reminds him of his days with the Chicago Bears. "It reminds me of the time I spent in the NFL where every week any team could beat any team," Schiano said. ... At last year's Big East media days, Cincinnati coach Brian Kelly refused to speak to a freelance reporter, who was covering the event for the Cincinnati Enquirer because the Enquirer didn't send its own reporter. The Enquirer sent a reporter this season. "We are in the Big East, we're a very important part of the city of Cincinnati," Kelly said. "The city of Cincinnati needs to recognize there's a place for college football." ... At Monday's golf function at Newport National Golf Club, a course employee asks each person their name to check in. When asked, a reporter said: "Rich Rodriguez." The golf course employee scanned the list, but couldn't find Rodriguez's name for some reason.

Brett McMurphy

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