BULLS GOAL LINE STAND : TEMPLE
By Leo Haggerty
You know this game has been circled on the USF calendar since the end of last season. The Green & Gold get a chance to get some measure of revenge against the team that beat them out as the East representative in the championship game.
Here are the 4 areas that the Bulls have to be successful.
1ST & GOAL-REMEMBER THE PAST
This isn’t Illinois. It’s Temple who was the only American Athletic Conference team to beat USF last year. In fact, the game last year in a monsoon at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia ended up determining who would win the AAC East.
This fact should be plastered all over the South Florida locker room this week. I would not be a bit surprised if the winner of this contest is the AAC East representative in the championship game in December again.
I know coaches say, and I used it myself when I prowled the sideline, that the next game is always the most important one. With Temple, it’s the most important game of the season because it will have championship implications. This is a must win and everyone that’s on the Bulls sideline on Thursday need to be crystal clear on that fact.
2ND & GOAL-PLAY FASTER
Play faster, you say? Absolutely. Go faster and harder and here’s why.
The Owls will be extremely hard pressed at practice to give their defense a legitimate look when it relates to how fast the Warp 1 offense operates. The fact the the Bulls can run off a play and then line up and snap the football in right around 15 seconds is phenomenal.
If you don’t run that type of offense yourself, it’s almost impossible to replicate in less than a week with your scout team. By the middle of the third period, look for the Temple defenses to be gassed.
3RD & GOAL-WATCH THE TARGETING
I hate to even bring this up but the Bulls need all hands on deck for this contest. USF cannot afford to have any front line players ejected for targeting.
With that being said, the officials need to start calling targeting as it was meant to be enforced. That is contact on the neck and head of s defenseless player. A running back lowering his head as a bat trying ram is not a defenseless player. Neither is a scrambling quarterback.
Replay officials need to look at what transpired before the hit in question. Not just the hit.
South Florida needs to be extremely conscious of this. You can’t help the club on the bench so stay in the game.
4TH & GOAL-NO SPECIAL TEAM BREAKDOWNS
This is imperative. The Bulls have had four kicks block already this season and that needs to be rectified yesterday.
Field position in this tilt will be huge. USF cannot afford to give up sudden change scores or short fields.
South Florida needs to protect the kickers and hold on to the pigskin on returns. One turnover could mean disaster when it comes to the final outcome.
Look for a shootout on Thursday. Both teams have put up big numbers when they’ve met in the past.
I say the Owls score 35 but that won’t be enough because USF puts up 52. Bulls take a giant leap toward playing in December.