No longer a ‘man’s game’

A lot of people think football is “just a man’s game,” USF football assistant head coach Ron Cooper said.

“But you look in the stands and it’s 50/50,” he said.

Cooper, also the defensive backs coach, will be working with the rest of the football staff to break the stereotype of women and football on July 27 at a USF women’s clinic.

“Some people know about football, but there’s an inside to it,” Cooper said. “We want to give the ladies a chance to understand that inside part — really see inside the locker room and feel the pads and helmet.”

Registration will be from 8 a.m. the day of the clinic to 9 a.m. in the Sun Dome Corral, and the first 100 women to register will be entered to win a VIP fan package. The clinic is set to end at 3 p.m.

The clinic, which in the past has drawn in an older crowd, is also open to students, who have the option to pre-register for a $25 fee as opposed to the normal rate of $60 at

“We’re inviting everybody in the area. We’ve sent out emails to the entire staff and anyone that’s on campus,” Cooper said. “This has
usually been an older crowd, but we’re trying to get a bunch of students, too.”

Women who attend the clinic will get what USF Athletics is calling a “behind-the-scenes” look at college football, beginning the morning with fundamentals, followed by a panel session in which they will be given the opportunity to ask questions to USF football players.

“We’ll actually coach them the basics just like our players would do during a meeting,” Cooper said. “We’ll have a couple of player panels — they’ll get a chance to hear from the players, to look and see what they do and how they prepare.”

Other colleges from around the country run similar clinics, and this isn’t Cooper’s first go at one.

The difference, Cooper said, is that this clinic will be better due to coach Willie Taggart’s involvement.

“A lot of the time, you’re sort of scared to put them on the field and have them learn what our players learn, but Taggart said, ‘Let’s get them out there in the end and show them what we do. Teach them how to get in a stance, teach them how to block and how to tackle a dummy,’” Cooper said.

After an included lunch, the women will head outside for a tour of the weight room, locker room and training room, as well as some time on the field.

The last hour and a half of the clinic will be optional.

While some may choose to watch, others will join the field with the coaches’ wives and children, who will also be attending the clinic to get hands-on experience with route running, defending, blocking and other game tactics.

“They’ll get to play an offensive and defensive position,” Cooper said. “We’re going to teach them every position, put them in stations and rotate them around. We may even line up and have some
competitions and games.”

That’s where the clinic will end. By the time it’s finished, Cooper said women will have a more comprehensive knowledge of a game traditionally dominated by men,

“They’ll understand the game,” he said.