Each Wednesday leading up to the football season, BIGEAST.org will profile two players from the conference who will look to make an impact in 2012. This week, players from USF and Temple are represented. Let us know what you think on Twitter at @bigeastfb, hashtag #wtww.
Entering his senior year, USF linebacker Sam Barrington can look back at some of the best and worst times in the young program’s history. As a freshman, he was part of a program-defining 17-7 win at Florida State in 2009. As a junior in 2011, he suffered through the program’s first losing season since 2004.
This year, the Bulls’ third-leading tackler is determined to take a leadership role and make sure that this year does not end the way last year did.
“We never forget about that 5-and-7,” said Barrington at BIG EAST Media Day. “It’s just important that nobody forgets that feeling. Every day after a workout, I go up to a guy and say ‘hey, never forget that 5-and-7’ because it’s a disgusting taste. I’m going to do everything I can do to not go 5-and-7 again – or anything close to it.”
The Bulls return all three starting linebackers from last year’s squad. Barrington is joined by DeDe Lattimore and Michael Lanaris – all three finished among the top 17 players in the BIG EAST in tackles last season.
In all, the Bulls return 17 starters and expectations are high despite last year’s disappointing year. USF was tabbed second in the BIG EAST’s preseason media poll released July 31 and received four first place votes.
“We’ve got a great group of young men,” said Skip Holtz at media day. “This is their senior go-around. They have a chip on their shoulder, and they know how hard it’s going to be. But it’s an extremely motivated group.”
The Bulls open their season on September 1 when they host Chattanooga. USF opens its BIG EAST schedule with a September 13 matchup with Rutgers.