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Dr. Saturday

Channeling ‘Remember the Titans,’ South Florida takes part in a very early morning practice

Dr. Saturday

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(J. Meric/Getty Images)

The South Florida football team was resting peacefully early Wednesday morning, restoring their energy as they powered through new head coach Willie Taggart's first fall camp with the Bulls. The peace was then loudly and gleefully disturbed by Taggart and his staff, who started bouncing through the Vero Beach Sports Complex, blasting music, banging on doors and waking up the entire roster at three in the morning.

Their reasoning? Making the players comfortable being uncomfortable, a maxim endorsed by Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh. The players were going to have to take part in a 4:30 a.m. scrimmage that lasted three hours, and they weren't super thrilled about the early wake-up call.

Senior defensive end Julius Forte described his thought process:

“I woke up startled like it was a tornado. I was like, “What’s going on?” Forte said. “You’re just hitting that good sleep where you’re dosing off and having good dreams. You might have Halle Berry or somebody knocking at your door but when you see coach (Marquel) Blackwell at the door you’re like, ‘Hey, you’re not Halle Berry!”

The tactic is reminiscent of "Remember the Titans," where Denzel Washington's head coach Herman Boone takes his squad on a middle-of-the-night run through Gettysburg and delivers a great monologue about the history of the battleground:

(Question: How long were they running? Boone says it's 3 a.m. at the beginning of the clip, and it's daylight when they stop. Going by this, I'd say at least three hours.)

Coach Taggart was proud of how his players responded, nothing that he didn't hear any moaning and groaning from his players after the "fun" of waking them up. The Bulls reward for the early morning scrimmage? An afternoon trip to the beach to catch some rays - and perhaps more importantly - catch up on some sleep.

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