My guilty pleasure sport is Arena Football. I know, it's a weird game and a defensive stop is cause for celebration and they have these giant trampoline nets at either end of the field that are always in play. But it's a lot of fun to watch. I can't help myself.
There are also several former Bulls football players dotting the rosters of Arena teams in this, the league's comeback season:
- Glen Gauntt is the starting quarterback for the Orlando Predators. Gauntt succeeded Chad Barnhardt as the second starter in Bulls history, but was overtaken by Marquel Blackwell early in the 1999 season. Gauntt's downfall was his lack of mobility, but that's not a problem in the Arena league, where quarterbacks rarely run the ball and pocket passing skills are highly valued.
- Ryan Schmidt plays on the Predators' offensive and defensive lines. (In the Arena league, most players play on both sides of the ball.) Schmidt is in his rookie season after starting 33 games from 2006-2008. He was named to the All-BIG EAST second team twice.
- Richard Clebert is a member of the Spokane Shock. The massive 320-pound defensive tackle played for the Bulls between 2004-2007, where he recorded 77 tackles, 5.5 sacks, and a 543-pound bench press.
- Huey Whittaker also plays for the Shock and is maybe the best wide receiver in Arena Football. In 2008, the All-AFL first teamer caught 126 passes for 1541 yards, and scored a total of 40 touchdowns. Whittaker played for the Bulls between 2000 and 2003, leading the team in receiving yards twice and ranking third all-time in that category. And he also made this catch:
- Two former Bulls represent the hometown Tampa Bay Storm. One is Terrence Royal, who plays linebacker and defensive line. As a defensive end at USF from 2002-2005, Royal collected 19.5 sacks and 47.5 tackles for loss. He also forced six fumbles and recovered five, and was named second-team All-BIG EAST in 2005.
- DeAndrew Rubin made his Storm debut last night, and he merely racked up 184 yards receiving and five touchdowns in the Storm's 62-61 win over Arizona. Longtime USF fans remember Rubin's biggest day as a Bull, when he caught 11 passes for 144 yards at Pittsburgh in USF's landmark victory in 2001. Rubin still holds USF records with 14 career touchdown receptions, and the longest play from scrimmage, a 95-yard catch and run against Northern Illinois in 2002. (Nice story from the St. Petersburg Times's Brandon Wright yesterday about Rubin - worth a read.)