Remember Ann Bowden's Bowden Bowl? Well, Jennifer Holtz, wife of USF coach Skip Holtz, will have a similar version of it Saturday when two schools near and dear to her will square off at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.
You see, Jennifer is a 1988 FSU graduate. The year before, Skip arrived in Tallahassee as a wide-eyed recent Notre Dame graduate, eager to begin a coaching career. A quarter-century later, after a winding road that took them across the country, the Holtzs returned to the Sunshine State in 2010. Since then, Skip has been leading the USF Bulls.
On Saturday, No. 4 FSU (4-0), once again enjoying some of the national attention and high-ranking status it had when Skp Holtz's coaching career began, meets USF (2-2) for only the second time in the two schools' history. It is also the first time the programs have met since both Skip Holtz and FSU's Jimbo Fisher have been head coaches of the teams. In 2009, the year of the only other meeting, Holtz was leading East Carolina; Fisher was in what would be his final year as Bobby Bowden's offensive coordinator at FSU.
The Holtz-FSU connection is a unique one. But had it not been for FSU Hall of Famer Sue Hall, Jennifer Holtz's FSU-USF connection may have never existed.
In Thursday's links, we take a deeper look at how Bobby Bowden's former secretary helped bring together Skip and Jennifer, a former Garnet and Gold Girl. While she was once eager to bring recruits to Tallahassee, Jennifer Holtz now wants them coming to Tampa. Make no mistake, when the teams meet Saturday, it appears she's going to be wearing green and gold, sans garnet.
Take a look below for a pair of stories from the Tampa Bay Times and Tampa Tribune on the connection the Holtzs share with FSU, but also the bond Skip has with FSU assistants Greg Hudson and Lawrence Dawsey.
---Greg Auman's story in the Tampa Bay Times tells us a little more about where Hall used to take the two to help develop their relationship. Jennifer nominated Hall earlier this year for induction into FSU's Hall of Fame. She went in Aug. 30 along with Bobby Bowden and former FSU quarterback Danny Kannell, among others. Auman's blog also has this unique quote from Skip's father, college football Hall of Famer Lou Holtz.
---The Tampa Tribune's Joey Johnston's story on the Holtzs FSU connection has a little more on Jennifer's connection with Bowden. Sensing his days as FSU head coach were soon numbered, she grabbed a group of coaches' children and drove from East Carolina down for FSU's game versus North Carolina State that year.
Johnston writes that Jennifer Holtz thinks she's "still suffering from post-Bowden traumatic syndrome."
Another cool story worth the read.
---Back on the field, check out Auman's blog here on how the USF offensive line is bracing for the big challenge looming in FSU's defensive line. Depth is something the Seminoles are proud to have created along their defensive front, and it's something opposing teams will have to figure out how to navigate all year.
USF offensive line coach Steve Shankweiler said he can't think of a defensive front that has as much quality depth on it as FSU's. Perhaps the old dominant FSU lines of the 1990s were more dominant, he said. Aside from that group? He's drawing a blank.
---Finally from the Times, there is this from columnist Tom Jones, who says Skip Holtz has the Bulls headed in the wrong direction. The coach's name got him in the door. Now he has to start making some quick recruiting and personnel changes in order to stay inside it, Jones writes.
---To Tallahassee for a moment, here are two stories of note in today's Orlando Sentinel.
First, this notebook discusses how, despite the rash of dropped punts by returner Rashad Greene, the Seminoles are confident in sticking with their man. He's already taken two punts back for touchdowns and could burst another at any point.
---As we close, check out this story on FSU running back James Wilder Jr. The son of a former Tampa Bay Buccaneer whose name he shares, will be headed back home this weekend. As he comes back, Wilder brings with him some heavy lumber. Teammates call him a "killer," and a "hammer" for his newfound aggressive, hard-running style.
Also, wanted to mention, we will host on our website another Google+ Hang Out, "Hanging with Harvey." We like to do these each Thursday from 1-1:30 p.m. Last week, we had a couple of technical issues, and yours truly was feeling a little under the weather, so there was no chat. This week, we'll be joined by Greg Auman from the Times, so we'll have a question or two geared for him.