Just a little over month from USF opening spring practice on March 23rd, more changes have come to the Bulls' offensive coaching staff. This offseason, South Florida has already seen changes to made at defensive coordinator and wide receivers coach while bringing in a former SEC defensive coordinator to oversee their safeties. Now one assistant has stepped down while a hometown quarterback has been brought aboard.
Hope Steps Down
Head coach Willie Taggart announced on Thursday that co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Danny Hope would be stepping down presumably to be closer to family. Taggart would comment on the departure:
"I would like to thank Danny for his significant contributions to the success of our program over the past season. We appreciated having him as part of our staff and I know he enjoyed being a Bull. He loved it here and I loved having him, but sometimes you have to make choices in regards to what's best for your family. I respect Danny's desire to do what's best for him and his family. We wish him nothing but the best in the future. I expect to be able to complete our staff very quickly with an excellent offensive line coach. I will continue to call the plays and work closely with our offense, and we will build our staff around that same structure."
A Floridian native and former Purdue head coach, Hope was brought on staff in December of 2014 to sheppard an injury prone offensive line and serve as co-OC along with quarterbacks coach David Reaves in the newly dubbed "Gulf Coast" offense. Despite early speculation, the hire payed off for the Bulls in 2015. USF's fielded their most prolific offense in school history, racking a program record 5,741 yards and 54 touchdowns in the process.
In particular, the Bulls' offensive line improved dramatically under Hope. According to Football Outsiders, USF rose from 31.8% in Opportunity Rate (The percentage of carries, when five yards are available, that gain at least five yards) in 2014 to 43.6% in 2015, improving from 121st to 18th in the nation in that category.
Footballscoop,com has already reported that Cincinnati OL coach Darren Hiller will join Taggart's staff to replace Hope. The West Texas A&M alum has coached for twenty season including stops at Arkansas State, Nevada, and Cincy. In his lone season at Nevada in 2012, he oversaw an offensive line that only allowed 18 sacks thoughout the campaign and paved the way for the seventh best rushing attack in all of FBS that season.
Shaun Hill To Join Staff
Josh Newberg of 247 Sports also reported on Thursday afternoon that Taggart will bring in former Tampa Bay quarterback Shaun King as QB coach. David Reaves will reportedly move over to tight ends coach, leaving a question of who will serve as OC for 2016 with Hope leaving.
A graduate of Gibbs High School in nearby St. Pete, King as a pro helped lead the hometown Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the NFC Championship Game in 1999. He was on the roster for the Bucs' victory in Super Bowl 37 three years later.
While not having any experience coaching at the collegiate level, King's personality and presence within the Tampa Bay community will yet another benefit to Taggart's ongoing recruiting success.
His style of play at quarterback in college could also be of tremendous benefit to Quinton Flowers, Asiantii Woulard, and 2016 signee Chris Oladokun down the road, all mobile QB's. Under the guidance of then quarterback coach Rich Rodriguez at Tulane in the late 90's, King set a single season FBS record for passing efficiency in 1998 at 183.3 while leading the Green Wave to a 12-0 season. He also became the first QB in NCAA history to pass for over 300 yards and rush for over 100 in the same game. This could be a major low-profile coupe for USF as the offseason progresses.