Defensive end confident in Bulls defense to play well during spring game

Senior defensive end Jason Vaughn saw action in all 12 games for the Bulls last season. ORACLE PHOTO/HANNAH HALILI

Senior defensive end Jason Vaughn will play in the spring game at Corbett Stadium on Friday for the first time since he was a freshman.

Vaughn provided 35 tackles for the Bulls last season. Three head coaches later, the fourth year player said being in front of football fans again will be nostalgic.

“If I bring the energy it’ll be contagious enough to where everybody else will feel that as well,” Vaughn said. “I think it’s gonna be a super exciting environment. I’m excited to see a lot of people to see what we have.”

Corbett Stadium is set to have food trucks, a beer garden, a kids zone, a DJ and multiple giveaways for fans. Aiming to bring a fun environment for Bulls fans, the game will also give USF supporters a first look into coach Alex Golesh’s team and newly hired staff.

Golesh said in a press conference on April 4 that he will not be showing his full playbook. However, a peak of interest is lying behind Todd Orlando’s debut as USF’s defensive coordinator. Pass defense coordinator/safeties coach James Rowe said he had previously worked with Orlando which is what motivated him to move back home to Tampa. Rowe is a USF alumni and played baseball for the Bulls until graduating in 2009. He finished two seasons coaching for the NFL before returning to Tampa to work under Golesh.

Rowe said he has seen many intelligent players in the secondary and it is a very important part in Orlando’s defensive scheme.

“He’s coaching the secondary himself,” Rowe said. “He has a lot of experience back there as well. We’re very multiple up front and we’re multiple in secondaries. Our guys got to be able to do a lot of things.”

When looking at safeties, Rowe said there is a very intelligent room. Striving to improve from last season starts with the fundamentals of football like leveraging the football and tackling, Rowe said.

“You know the fundamentals of football that you can always improve,” Rowe said. “I tell them all the time one of the best ways to make an impact is to be able to help in different positions and learn in different spots. Having a deep understanding of what we’re trying to achieve.”

With the work the defense has put in during the spring, Vaughn is confident they will be able to show their development on Friday to the crowd. Vaughn said USF’s culture is coming together a lot quicker this season than previous years.

The current staff’s honesty has allowed the team to play with a bigger sense of pride, which Vaughn said will shine at the spring game.

“You are going to see guys playing fast, guys playing physical and guys running the ball,” Vaughn said. “I think overall as a team most of our playmakers are on the defensive side of the ball…not to be biased or anything. I feel like we can make it happen and it’s gonna be an exciting performance.”

Regardless of who wins the spring game, Vaughn said his biggest takeaway from spring ball is to take in the little moments of his favorite sport.

He said from the breeze he feels on the field to hearing his teammates talk, he is going to embrace every moment his cleats touch the grass.

“Your days are numbered in this game, especially in college,” Vaughn said. “The little things you know…once you appreciate those moments it gets a lot less painful when you finally step away.”