The ups and downs of coaching college football

TAMPA, Fla. — South Florida coach Skip Holtz peered out his office window last week toward a practice field he has never coached on and spoke of the things he knew and the things he must learn.

He knew he was happy in Greenville, N.C. He knew every player on East Carolina’s roster. He knew their strengths, their weaknesses and their mothers’ names. He knew he loved his athletic director and chancellor. He knew he had the support of the community. He knew he could win; the Pirates claimed the last two Conference USA titles. “There were so many positives,” Holtz said. “Then a tornado came by, and I jumped into the middle of it.”