The Matt Grothe playing era ended on Saturday after he tore his ACL playing against Charleston Southern, ending his senior season and college football career.
However, a new Grothe era began this week – and it comes with a new title.
“(On Monday) I was messing with the guys and told them they can’t call me Matt or Grothe anymore. It’s ‘coach Grothe,'” he said at Tuesday’s weekly press luncheon. “Hopefully, I’ll be coaching one day.”
Grothe said coping with his injury means getting acclimated with a different way of life on the football field. He said it was weird being at practice Monday night.
“It was awkward when I was watching,” Grothe said. “Not uncomfortable but awkward, if that makes sense. I think I’ll enjoy it on the sideline, too. It’s a little bit easier to be on the sideline with an injury than to be on the sideline without an injury.”
From the sidelines, Grothe will get to watch freshman B.J. Daniels take the reins at quarterback. Daniels, a Tallahassee native, said he’s learned a lot from Grothe during the two years he’s been at USF.
“Matt came out to practice (Monday) and looked like a coach out there,” Daniels said. “He’s helped me out a lot and will continue to do the same. I’ve learned a lot from him about taking over an offense and stuff like that.”
Grothe may not have control over the offense anymore, but will still play an important role throughout the remainder of the season.
“What choice does he have? He’s going to handle things the best he can,” said coach Jim Leavitt. “I’m sure it’s tough on him. It’d be tough on all of us. It is what it is … There’s not a lot you can do about it right now. He can certainly help our football team in a lot of important ways. He already is.”
Since the injury, Grothe said the support he’s been getting has been overwhelming.
“My phone’s been blowing up all day, every day,” he said. “Emails … everything. It means a lot to me. At the same time, I want to thank all (the fans). I wouldn’t be here … (the team) wouldn’t be here doing what we’ve been doing for the last few years if it wasn’t for them.”
Coaches: Offense stays the same
It’s been asked many times this week if the USF offense will be tweaked with Daniels making his first-career start at quarterback.
The clear answer: No
“We’re going, we’re moving forward,” said offensive coordinator Mike Canales. “We’re not going to slow down (with B.J.). We’re going to let him play. We don’t want to harness what he can do. You just have to let him play.”
Canales said Daniels has the full authority and capability to change plays at the line of scrimmage and make audibles.
“He did it against Wofford and the other night,” Canales said. “He’s very capable of doing it. He wants to check all the time. I’m trying to harness him.”
Leavitt: Bowden changed college football
When USF faces FSU for the first time Saturday, it will be facing one of college football’s best coaches.
Bowden, who has been at FSU since 1976, currently has 368 career wins, 16 behind Penn State coach Joe Paterno on the all-time wins list for a college head coach.
Bowden is one of four active coaches to have been inducted in the college football Hall of Fame, along with Paterno, Nevada’s Chris Ault and St. John’s coach John Gagliardi.
“What do you really say? He’s completely changed college football throughout this country, certainly in the state of Florida,” Leavitt said Tuesday. “He’s a legend. He’s a Hall of Fame coach. What he’s done there is extraordinary and will never been done again. Everything about him is pretty dog-gone impressive.”