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Charlie Strong makes impressive showing at first USF press conference

in Sports/Top Headlines by

Everyone wins at hello.

A new coach walks into a room, filled with new energy and ambition, and he knows which notes to hit in his opening press conference. Fans cheer, and no one fumbles, and no one is called for holding. The entire day looks like a bright future.

It was that way for new USF coach Charlie Strong Thursday morning, as he was interoduced to fans and the media.

He talked about getting better. He talked about a new on-campus stadium. He talked about recruiting.

Speaking in a clear, commanding voice, Strong talked about the team repeating its success and building on it. He didn’t say much about his staff, except that he admires the job the current one did in winning 10 games. He didn’t commit to how long he would be here, except to say that “anytime you take a job, you’re there.” He didn’t say much about recruiting, except to point out that he had spoken to every person USF is recruiting.

In other words, Strong had a nice welcome. Now comes the difficult part.

Strong has to repair a USF defense that ranked No. 120 out of 128 schools while maintaining an offense that ranked 10th. His history as a Florida assistant coach is sure to help him renew his ties with state colleges.

“There is no reason we can’t compete on year-in, year-out basis,” Strong said. “We all have a vision of where we’d like to take this program. A foundation has been laid. It’s going to get better, and get better, and get better.

USF’s new season begins on Aug. 26 against San Jose State. After that comes a game against Stony Brook before the Bulls take on Illinois and former Bucs’ coach Lovie Smith.

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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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