TAMPA — If the University of South Florida is at rock bottom, sitting at 0-4 under first-year coach Willie Taggart, Al Golden has a word of advice on how to turn a program around.
Before becoming the coach at Miami, Golden served in the same position at Temple, a team so hapless it was booted from the Big East.
In the three years before Golden’s arrival, the Owls were 3-31. Five years later, Temple finished the 2010 season 8-4, and Golden departed for UM.
After a superb first half against USF, en route to a dominant 49-21 win, Golden’s No. 15 Hurricanes started to take their foot off the pedal.
Golden declined penalties and continued to let backup quarterback Ryan Williams play. Eventually, he turned the team over to third-string quarterback Gray Crow.
USF found a bit of momentum in the second half, scoring a couple of touchdowns, while Miami’s offense started to stall.
The Hurricanes racked up 411 total yards in the first half, but only 129 in the second half.
“I think we took our foot off the gas in the third quarter, and I’ll be debating that for the next 24 hours, whether I should have done that or not,” Golden said. “It killed our continuity and led to a defensive touchdown for them. Then it starts to erode what you’ve already accomplished, which was 49 points without having to punt.”
If Golden regrets easing up and not continuing to push forward, it’s because aggressively sticking with his plan is exactly what helped him turn Temple’s program around.
“All I can say is what we did (at Temple),” he said. “We had a plan and stuck to it. We made sure we committed to a lot of guys that were doing things right and just stuck to the plan. That’s the bottom line. The only way you turn around a culture is to not flinch.”
USF will stick to Taggart’s plan. Sophomore
Steven Bench will remain the Bulls’ starting quarterback after a 13-for-27, 189-yard performance that leaves USF without a win heading into American Athletic Conference play.