Breaking Tampa Bay, Florida and national news and weather from Tampa Bay Online and The Tampa Tribune | TBO.com
  • Home

USF returns to the Trop

Posted Dec 15, 2008 by Brett McMurphy

Updated Dec 15, 2008 at 11:14 PM

When the University of South Florida plays Memphis in Saturday’s St. Petersburg Bowl, it will be the first Division I-A college football game held in Tropicana Field.

It will not, however, be the first time the Bulls have been inside the Trop. USF previously held walk-through practices in the Trop before playing on Northern Illinois’ artificial surface to open the 2001 season and also before visiting Syracuse’s Carrier Dome in 2005 and 2007.

“I think it is a little louder in the dome,” USF QB Matt Grothe said. “I’m sure it is going to be loud. We will have to deal with that.

“I don’t think the lights will be too big of an issue. It’s just like playing in the middle of the day. I’m looking forward to it. It is going to be a lot of fun.”

USF coach Jim Leavitt said he previously coached in a domed baseball stadium when he was an assistant at Kansas State in 1992.  The Wildcats lost to Nebraska 38-24 in the Coco-Cola Classic in the Tokyo Dome in Japan.

“I’m excited about seeing the [Trop’s] layout,” Leavitt said. “I’ve heard about it, but I haven’t been over there and seen how they lay the turf out over the infield.

“It was very similar [in Japan]. The stands were on one side. It was really quite an experience.”

ODDS AND ENDS: USF freshman K Maikon Bonani has been nominated for the Football Writers Association of America’s freshman All-American team. Bonani, of Lake Wales, has hit 13 of 19 field goals, including the 43-yard game-winner with no time remaining in USF’s 37-34 win against Kansas. … Both teams will arrive in St. Petersburg today. The Bulls are staying in St. Petersburg starting tonight, but will bus to Tampa to practice at USF today through Thursday.

Reader Comments

Por (Patrick O'Rourke) on December 15, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Maikon Bonani….the same kicker Jim Leavitt was doing everything he could to keep on the bench in deference to his pet kicker, Delbert Alvarado.  Just another example of how Leavitt’s loyalty to older players gets this team in trouble.  It’s either that, or he is a poor evaluator of talent.  Neither case paints Leavitt in a very favorable light. Probably a bit of both.

Not to mention all the “glass half full” fans who insisted Alvarado was our best kicker just because Leavitt said so.  Hey…turns out the Alvarado glass was shattered and empty.  But that never stops our “Pollyanna” Miss Mary Sunshine fans from being blindly ecstatic about something.

Anyhow, way to go, Maikon.

Suggest removal

Por (Hector Jimenez) on December 16, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Brett….how are ticket sales looking, for USF and overall?

Do you know if they are filling in the field with bleachers?

What’s the attitude of the players this week….seems awfully quiet?

Thanks.

Suggest removal

Por (Steve O'neal) on December 16, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Congratulations to bonani! Nice to know we will have a decent kicker for the next few years. I guess it takes the pollyanna, half full glass, miss mary sunshine types to offset the constant sky is falling, end of the world, glass empty types like you that NEVER stop finding things to complain about. A nice article comes out about USF player receiving recognition for doing well and all you can do is spin it so CJL is doing a bad job. I take it that you won’t be at bowl game, Patrick. GOOD! GO BULLS!

Suggest removal

Por (Don G) on December 16, 2008 (Suggest removal)

For fear of going the half-empty route and piling-on CJL, but I half to agree with Patrick’s assessment of that USF kicking situation.  I wasn’t sure why Leavitt stayed with Alvarado doing both punting & place kicking?  Most successful teams usually do not use the same kicker for both duties and if you’re punting a lot in a game, then it certainly would take away from a kicker’s performance if needed for FGs. At the time, I wasn’t sure if USF had a decent place kicker, but it appears that Leavitt decided he wantd Alvarado to perform both chores.  Congrats to Bonani!

Suggest removal

Por (dan) on December 16, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Let’s see… Bill Grammatica set some special teams records, his brother did well for a few seasons, Delbert did okay, and Maikon’s stock seems to be on the rise.

Yep, Leavitt sure doesn’t know how to pick a kicker or punter. They have these stats online if you want to look them up.

Brett, why would the team NOT practice in the dome, though? That would make more sense to me.

Suggest removal

Por (Patrick O'Rourke) on December 16, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Steve:

The reason I felt the need to get up on the ol’ soapbox about this can be described by one word: Accountability.

Accountability on the part of Leavitt, sure.  But more along the lines of a fan’s accountability.

All the screaming and shouting a fan does to make his case back several months ago that Leavitt knows what he’s doing and that “Alvarado MUST be our best kicker because Coach says so” needs to be brought back up down the road when they are proven DEAD WRONG.  Too often, it is just forgotten.

I didn’t forget all the Pollyanna fans insulting those of us who dared question the great Jim Leavitt’s decision on a kicker, and I’m all too willing to remind you about it.

There you have it, Steve.

Suggest removal

Por (Patrick O'Rourke) on December 16, 2008 (Suggest removal)

“...Delbert did okay…”

—Dan

****************************************************

Delbert is at 59% for his career, which is not good, but not awful.  It’s not his percentage that tells the story, though.  How many MEANINGFUL kicks did he miss?  The Auburn game had what, four or five CLOSE RANGE misses alone!

I won’t blame Leavitt for using him in 2006 & 2007, but he was either too stubborn or too ignorant to see coming into the season (and well after the season had started) that Bonani was CLEARLY the better kicker.

Suggest removal

Por (Steve O'neal) on December 16, 2008 (Suggest removal)

I’m guessing that they are probably busy setting up for the game to allow the teams to practice at the trop.

Suggest removal

Por (Steve O'neal) on December 16, 2008 (Suggest removal)

I’ve never said that Delbert was our best kicker and Ive never insulted anyone for disagreeing with CJL. I don’t agree with everything and voice my displeasure with CJl and the bulls on occasion. I don’t complain about everythig all the time though. It is obvious that you don’t like CJL as our coach. That is your opinion and you are welcome to it. I believe that he is the right coach at this time. That is my opinion and I, like you, are entitled to my opinion. So if you feel the need to always remind the bulls fans how bad CJL is ALL the time, go ahead. There you have it Patrick.

Suggest removal

Por (Dan) on December 16, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Delbert WON the Auburn game, and you cannot second guess what would’ve happened if he made one or more of the prior kicks, because Auburn would have done something different to react to those points. Putting the kid in for the game winner was a real gut check, but I figured, heck, he’s gotta make ONE of these - and he did. After that comes high rankings and a lot of national media. It was a helluva story, and sometimes a little drama and excitement makes for a better season. It did THAT year. So I think Delbert did okay. For those of you who expect perfection every play from college kids and their coaches, stick to video games.

Suggest removal

Por (Patrick O'Rourke) on December 16, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Steve:

I whole-heartedly agree.  Your opinion is fine, and so is mine.  I still like Leavitt, but a WHOLE lot less than I once did.

Dan:

Delbert WON the Auburn game?  Gee, I seem to recall Jesse Hester making a certain TD catch in overtime.  Maybe I’m just getting old and senile, though.

Suggest removal

Por (Dan) on December 16, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Now, everybody fess up: how many tickets did you get to St Pete Bowl and where (more or less) are they? We gotta fill that place and then ROCK IT. I got 8 tickets and we are on the 30 yard line, in the 100 section, as far as I can tell from the Ticketmaster diagram. But I did buy them when the first notice came out in October - great marketing ploy, USF, before the losses started - and I know that the best seats go to sponsors and dignitaries, etc. I hate the COWBELLS, but I think we should bring them to the Trop for the game. Remember, better bowls are about attendance and travelling well, so we need to show up in BIG numbers.

How many tickets did all of you buy?

Suggest removal

Por (Dan) on December 16, 2008 (Suggest removal)

No, he didn’t win it, but how many of us would have put him in to tie the game after his prior performance? THAT little shot of confidence made a huge difference for our team. Hester’s catch was awesome, and made for an awesome finish, no doubt. But it was a major gut check that put us in that position: by Delbert and by Leavitt, too. After that, you can take a breath and start playing football again. A lot of good things came from that FG, but please, I didn’t say he was great.

Suggest removal

Por (Steve O'neal) on December 16, 2008 (Suggest removal)

I got 7 in sect 128. I ordered mine the last day of cut-off(12/08/08). We’ll be there early to start tailgatin’ and getting ready for the last game of our season. GO BULLS!

Suggest removal

Por (Steve O'neal) on December 16, 2008 (Suggest removal)

I’m all for yelling and cheering for your team, but let’s leave the cowbell tradition to the rays.

Suggest removal

Por (Brett McMurphy) on December 16, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Hector, I’m checking on ticket sales. Also there will be no grandstand seats on the field. There will be no seating in the left field or centerfield seats. Dan, the bowl doesn’t allow the teams to practice in Tropicana. Both teams will get a “walk-through” on Friday. Memphis is practicing at a St. Pete high school, while USF chose to practice on its campus and bus back and forth.

Suggest removal

Por (Dan) on December 16, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Steve, yeah that’s about where mine are; I think about the best we could do. Pat, you in? Gonna support your Bulls? Nabeel? Hector? Don?

Oh, and I agree, the cowbells are obnoxious. I was pretty happy when they got barred from USF games at RayJay. But they make a DEAFENING noise, especially in a dome, and Memphis’ offense would be impeded by it A LOT, I think. The Trop can get loud. That was my thinking. I doubt they would have ever faced noise like that, and it could help let us run up a score, which I’m all for. I seriously fear a close game.

Suggest removal

Por (Patrick O'Rourke) on December 16, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Nope.  Not this time.

I was just down visiting family for Thanksgiving…spent a BOATLOAD of cash over a six-day period.  I’m not dropping another $1,000 or so to come back down and watch another game against a terrible opponent.

Papa Johns: probably
Sun: maybe
Meineke: definitely
Orange: without a doubt

If I still lived in the Bay Area, yeah, I’d probably have tickets.  Not flying down for this one, though.

Suggest removal

Por (dan) on December 16, 2008 (Suggest removal)

I admit, I will be spoiled after this bowl game, as far as travelling goes. Regarding prestige of the bowl game, I always want the best bowl game we could get, but as for travelling, I hated going to Birmingham, thought El Paso was okay-to-disliked it, and thought Carolina was best - but only due to NY eve and game-orientred activities, pep rallies, etc.

This bowl should have an on-campus parade, a night parade in downtown St Pete, a big afterparty on the beach, and all the tents and things that go up in the parking lots at RayJay during homecoming and home games should be set up in Vinoy park. THAT would make an impression, whereas… it’s been kinda quiet this week.

Suggest removal

Por (Steve O'neal) on December 16, 2008 (Suggest removal)

There are events going on this week for fans. Go to the bowl website and check out the schedule. As far as weather goes, today is the perfect day to welcome fans from out of town. I hope it lasts the whole week. If this bowl works out they will probably upgrade to another BCS conference team like they did in Birmingham. Who wouldn’t like to come here as opposed to some of the colder climate bowls.

Suggest removal

Por (Ken) on December 16, 2008 (Suggest removal)

I wasn’t a big Delbert fan, and I’m still not, but you have to give him his due. The kicks he missed in the Auburn game were early—he came in and made the one with the game on the line. When he missed the early ones, no one knew whether we would win by 3 or 33, or lose by those amounts. Of course, they are all meaningful until the game is clearly decided, but when we absolutely, positively needed 3 pts in the Auburn game, DA game through.

Three tickets—see you there.

Suggest removal

Por (Don G) on December 17, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Dan, well, I initially got 2 tkts, but due to the pathetic location I got as a Bulls season tkt holder (end zone), I did get 2 more tkts (40yd line) from a friend.  So, technically, I have 4, but will only need 2.  Anyone want 2 end zone seats for half price?

Suggest removal

Por (Dan) on December 17, 2008 (Suggest removal)

you may be able to trade the bad tickets

http://www2.tbo.com/content/2008/dec/17/sp-plenty-of-seats-left/sports-colleges-bulls/

Suggest removal

Por (Don G) on December 17, 2008 (Suggest removal)

Brett, Dan, anyone else, do you know where the “exchange” lower level seats are located?  If they’re in the end zone, then it’s just another less than satisfactory effort by what is appearing to be a weak, ill-run USF ticket office.  When I purchased my tkts via the USF e-mail offer, I was stunned that they didn’t provide at least what section they’d be located. It was unbelievable that if I wanted tkts thru USF, I had to get them without knowing where seats were!  What kind of process is that!

Suggest removal

Por (Steve O'neal) on December 17, 2008 (Suggest removal)

USF sets up an early deadline for receiving ticket orders from season tkt holders for away games and bowl games where there are a limited amount of seats. All orders received by deadline are then ranked in order by priority points. USF can’t rank the orders and assign seat locations accordingly until after the deadline. All orders received after the deadline are processed in order received regardless of priority points or season tkt status. Most schools do it this way or similar method.

Suggest removal
Page 1 of 2 pages

Post a comment

Members:

(Requires free registration.)




Auto-login on future visits

Show my name in the online users list

Forgot your password?


Commenting is not available in this weblog entry.