Taking over for a defense that is filled with veteran players ready to take the team to the next level may seem like a luxury, but for new USF defensive coordinator Chris Cosh, the task is much more difficult.
Cosh took over for former defensive coordinator Mark Snyder, who left USF for the same position at Texas A&M. The 53-year-old Virginia Tech graduate enters his 28th year in coaching with the task of turning an inconsistent defense with flashes of brilliance into a well-oiled, hard-hitting machine.
He said he got the opportunity to form a bond with his defense during the team’s annual trip to Vero Beach for a week of disruption-free football.
“I loved Vero, they had to put me on the bus, I was trying to hang onto my room,” Cosh said. “The people treat you first class, and it’s just great for everyone. It’s not something I’ve experienced in 28 years of
Cosh said he most enjoyed the opportunity to turn his group of defensive players into a defensive unit and team.
“I think the most important part of Vero Beach is the proximity of it, you’re always around each other,” he said. “Whether it’s eating, having a meeting, walking to practice, changing; the team meetings are really vital in getting to know each other.”
Cosh will be taking over a defense that held teams to 17 points or fewer in five games last season, while also allowing four separate teams to put 30 or more points on the board. Cosh knows that the main focus of his unit is consistency, which he has attempted to develop in his first spring and summer with the team.
“The summer program overall, the weight program and everything else, was so great for this whole unit,” he said. “We came together in the spring and we came together a little more in the summer, and now we’re coming together even more in the fall.”
Though he has not been with the team for long, Cosh has managed to gain the support of the literal and figurative center of the Bulls defense, middle linebacker and senior leader Sam Barrington. Barrington said he respects the philosophiesthat Cosh brings to the team, and said he remembers his most important lesson.
“Practice like you play, that’s one thing that (Cosh) has always told us,” Barrington said. “He’s showing us the importance of sticking to fundamentals and just practicing exactly how we play, so it’s going good so far.”
The former Kansas State defensive coordinator and assistant coach knows he is blessed with quality pieces for the defense he is looking to form, and said he appreciates their contribution to creating a defensive unit that will succeed in the long run.
“I’ve got good guys on my unit, I’ve got good people. I’ve got guys that want to play like that with togetherness and unity,” Cosh said. “So we’ve just got to keep doing it, keep chipping at it and doing it over and over again, until we can build that consistency.”
For Barrington, the arrival of Cosh provides a point of optimism and has allowed him to gain confidence in
the performance of the defense he will be looking to lead.
“You’ve got to hide from the word pressure and live up to your own expectations,” Barrington said. “We want to set the expectations extremely high for ourselves. We want to aim high so that even if we miss I think we’ll be amongst where we want to be. Maybe not exactly what we want to be, but pretty close.”