BULLS : AFTER THE DUST SETTLES : STONY BROOK
By Leo Haggerty

Always remember this, Bulls fans. An UGLY win ALWAYS trumps a good loss. If you want confirmation of that hypothesis just ask a Florida or Florida State fan.  Even though the Gators lost to #11 Michigan and the Seminoles were beaten by #1 Alabama, is still a mark on the wrong side of the dash when the season is over in December.

With that being said, USF didn’t resemble a Top 20 team in any aspect of the game in their 31-17 home opener win over Stony Brook. Here’s what I saw Saturday at the RayJay.

THE GUYS ON THE OTHER COLOR JERSEY CAN PLAY

USF needs to realize that their opposition isn’t chopped liver.  They have players and can make plays.

In the case of Stony Brook, they didn’t have as many talented players as the Bulls but the 11 they put out on both sides of the ball were athletes.  They weren’t as big and fast as South Florida plus they’ve been told they weren’t good enough to play Division I football.

USF totally underestimated what the Seawolves were capable of doing if you let them in the game.  By doing that Stony Brook entered the 4th quarter with a chance to win and, the way the Bulls were playing. it was a legitimate shot at an upset victory.

The Green & Gold need to enter the game at UConn with the mindset that the Huskies can beat them if they don’t bring their A game.  Last week should have cemented that fact loud and clear and HC Charlie Strong will be the one delivering that message all week if he feels it hasn’t sunk in.

DIDN’T PLAY LIKE A RANKED TEAM

USF, after two lackluster performances, needs to play like the Top 25 team that prognosticators as well as coaches believe they are.  Improvement needs to be made in all three phases of the game.

On offense, USF must start fast.  In the first two contests, the Bulls were sleepwalking through the first 15 minutes.  That has to stop.

On defense, South Florida needs to make sure they don’t give up a big play.  Listen, the other team is going to score.  You just want to make them earn it in a double-digit play drive.

On special teams, see below.  They get their own section and for good reason.

SPECIAL TEAMS WERE TRRRIBLE

Two games.  Two blocked punts.  One for a sudden chance score.  Inexcusable and look for Special Teams coach Justin Burke to shore that up immediately with different personnel or else you’ll see some quick coaching changes.

GIVE FLOWERS A BETTER READ

I’ve got to give Stony Brook credit.  Their defensive game plan against the run was a thing of beauty.

What the Seawolves did on any down where a run would be in order, was Outback both their defensive ends in, what we refer to in the coaching profession, a Wide 9 technique.  That where you put the DEs extremely wide and their job is to contain the quarterback.

That’s exactly what Flowers saw and correctly gave the ball to the running back.  That played right into the hands of the Stony Brook defense and here’s why.

Knowing the RB was getting the pigskin, the Seawolves made sure there was enough defenders between the tackles to clog up the running lanes.  For a majority of the tilt, this strategy worked.

If UConn tries this, and I expect they will, look for the Bulls to load up on the DEs, that means blocking the DE with a TE or a pulling offensive lineman, so Flowers can get to the edge.  It’s in the open field where #9 is the most effective and dangerous.

Again, I picked South Florida to run the table and I’m riding that horse all year.  I expect the Bulls coaching staff to see exactly what I see and to make the necessary adjustments.

All photos courtesy of Its Sports Magazine photojournalist Trace Crisp.