BULLS : GOAL LINE STAND : SEPTEMBER 1
By Leo Haggerty
The hardest game to win is the first one. After a wee bit of consternation during the first quarter with all three phases of their game at San Jose State, the real South Florida Bulls showed up. USF put up 42 unanswered on the scoreboard and won going away 42-22. The initial one on the left side of the dash was in the book.
In what should be a home opener warm-up against Stony Brook, the Green & Gold must learn from last week. The biggest lesson that I hope Charlie Strong’s legions learned was that the guys in the other color uniforms have skills. There may not be as many as South Florida has but every team on their schedule has the ability to jump up and bite the Bulls if they don’t come to play from the opening kickoff.
Here’s the four things I believe USF needs to accomplish to put win #2 up on the board.
1ST & GOAL-PLAY FAST
The Warp 1 Offense, and that’s how I am going to refer to it so get used to it, needs to be working at the speed of light. It’s hard enough for a team to prepare for QB Quinton Flowers and his stable of ultra-talented receivers and running backs. Now, add to that equation the fact that the Bulls run a play somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 to 20 seconds, and it becomes almost impossible to give your defense the look they are going to see on game day from the Bulls offense.
Go harder and go faster especially early in the game. Try to wear out the Stony Brook defense. The Division I-A Seawolves don’t have the bodies to rotate in when the starters, especially the defensive linemen, to go toe-to-toe with the Bulls. That will pay dividends later in the contest.
2ND & GOAL-START FAST ON OFFENSE
The Warp 1 Offense needs to show up from the opening kickoff. Flowers and Company struggled in the first quarter out in California at San Jose State. Yes, some of it was bad field position and the Spartan defense. In my opinion, the biggest issue was that the USF was just too amped up.
I expect the South Florida offense to be more under control. Why? They have a game under their belt as well as playing in the friendly confines of Raymond James Stadium. Look for a big effort and lots of fireworks when the Green & Gold have the pigskin.
On offense, QB Quinton Flowers needs to play like a Heisman Trophy contender and not a pretender. Let’s be honest here. The voters expect him to put up big numbers against an inferior opponent. Stony Brook isn’t Southern California so #9 needs to be special for the entire time he’s in the game.
On defense, LB Auggie Sanchez needs to be all over the field. Double digits in tackles. A couple passes defended. Maybe an INT and/or a sack. Basically, be the best defender on the field.
4TH & GOAL-PLAY SMART ON DEFENSE
The South Florida defense must play hard but, more so, play smart. No big plays or stupid penalties. Don’t do anything to let Stony Brook stay in the game.
Exert your dominance from the kickoff. Don’t let the Seawolves gain an rhythm or momentum. In short, play like the Top 20 team that you are.
I feel you’ll see a completely different South Florida squad on the gridiron Saturday. They will jump on Stony Brook early and often.
My call is USF 59-17. No disrespect to Stony Brook. They just happen to be standing on the middle of the road and the Bulls Express is coming at you in height gear. Either get run over or get out of the way. Looks like it’s going to be Seawolf road kill in Tampa.