New faces looking to make an impact in the secondary

Redshirt sophomore TJ Robinson (above) transferred to USF in June 2020 but couldn’t play last season due to NCAA transfer rules. USF ATHLETICS PHOTO

From the coach to the players, the secondary for the USF football team has plenty of new individuals ready to make a difference.

Newly hired cornerbacks coach George Barlow has decades of experience. He has been coaching since 1991 and most recently worked as an assistant to the head coach and cornerbacks coach at NC State.

in a press conference Thursday afternoon, Barlow talked about how he became interested in the job at USF and how the hiring process worked, citing mutual friends as a big reason he got the opportunity.

“One of the coaches I used to coach with a couple years ago, actually two coaches, were friends with coach [Jeff] Scott and [defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer],” Barlow said. “I kind of got to know them and got in touch with them through some coaches that I coached with in the past. They got to telling me about the opportunity, and then I talked to coach Scott and coach Spencer, and they actually interviewed me and we liked each other.

“We both had the same similar vision of how we wanted to coach guys, and how we wanted to develop them, and I was familiar with the defensive scheme. So, everything kind of meshed together and I decided to take the job here, and obviously they accepted me so they thought I would be a good fit.”

So far, Barlow said he has enjoyed his time at USF and believes that Scott is building the program the right way.

“It’s been really good, I really enjoy being here. Coach [Scott] has a great vision to build a quality program,” Barlow said. “He’s making it about family, he’s making it about developing men, developing leaders, and then of course developing players to get to a point where we can be a championship-type program.

“He’s got a great vision and he’s doing things the right way. I’m happy to be a part of it, I’ve been very pleased.”

As Barlow gets more comfortable in the program, the secondary itself has a plethora of talent that has yet to play a single snap for the Bulls, whether that be due to them being a transfer or a freshman.

Redshirt sophomore TJ Robinson and sophomore Christian Williams, two transfers, are players who have impressed Barlow in spring practice so far.

“TJ [Robinson] would be one, he’s had a pretty decent spring. [He] started out kind of slow, but again, we’re continuing to develop upwardly as we go,” Barlow said. “Christian Williams has also had a really good spring. Like [Daquan Evans], they definitely have the ability, and they have the mentality to go along with it. Both of those kids have been pleasant surprises.”

In addition to Robinson and Williams, the Bulls also have newcomers such as sophomore Matthew Hill, who transferred from Auburn, and freshman Will Jones who came over from Kansas State.

While the influx of depth and talent is always welcomed, growing accustomed to one another and learning the standards is crucial for the success of a team. Barlow said he utilizes spring practice for that purpose.

“That’s what spring ball is all about. We get 15 practices to get them to where they need to be,” Barlow said. “As far as my group, every day we have to do things to get better, whether it be on or off the field. A lot of guys just haven’t played a bunch, so you’re teaching them from the ground up, which is a good thing.

“These guys, they got the talent to do it … so like I said before, they’re progressing in the right direction.”