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In his one day in charge, T.J. Weist hopes to lead USF to win

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The last coach is looking over one shoulder.

The next coach is looking over the other.

But for today, at least, the USF Bulls are under the charge of T.J. Weist. How they respond will be the question of the day.

The Bulls play against South Carolina today (2 p.m.) in the Birmingham Bowl, and everyone would seem to have a goal. Quinton Flowers and Marlon Mack want to keep the electric offense going. Auggie Sanchez wants to make the defense better. And Weist, in a way, is auditioning for work.

“We want to win 11, obviously, and set the record,” said Weist, who also has experience as an interim coach. He coached Connecticut for the final eight games of the 2013 season after Paul Pasqualoni was fired as coach. Bob Diaco was hired as the Huskies’ coach after that season, and he was fired Monday.

There has been no early word on the coaching staff of new coach Charlie Strong, and former coach Willie Taggart hasn’t completed his staff at Oregon. That means that good things could happen for Weist if the team produces today.

“Our team is hungry,” Weist said. “We want to play a physical game on both sides of the ball and make sound decisions.”

USF would seem to be in decent shape to score points. The Bulls have the ninth-rated offense in America, and they’ll be going against the 62nd ranked defense. South Carolina’s own offense is raned only 118th in the country.

Flowers leads the Bulls and hopes to put himself into the conversation for awards next season.

Against South Caroline, USF is a solid favorite (10 1/2 points) over an SEC opponent.

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Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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