By Leo Haggerty

An almost half-day of inclement weather, as well as the Fan Fest event, led to the postponement of the morning USF practice.  Welcome to coastal Florida in the summer.  Rain and lightning, early and often.

In fact, due to the threat of more early evening weather issues, the Bulls moved their practice up to 8:30 AM with no media availability.  Need a “Sugar Daddy donor” to foot the bill for an indoor practice facility.  President Judy, are you listening?

Had a chance last night when the Green & Gold finally did finish practice, and it was around 8:30 PM, to talk with the Head Man himself.  Charlie Strong took the time to chat with the members of the media after the first South Florida game situation scrimmage.

Some good things and some bad things but that’s to be expected during the early days of fall practice.  Check out what USF head honcho thought about the first scrimmage below.

Photo Journalist Trace Crisp manned the camera and supplied us with more high quality shots.  Enjoy.

LH : I know you haven’t had a chance to look at the film of today’s scrimmage but what’s the one thing that stood out that you liked and didn’t like?

CS : One thing that stood out is that we have to get tougher.  When something goes bad, you have to come back.  We threw some critical interceptions in the red zone.  Two or three in the red zone.  On defense, we have to tackle better.  We cannot allow running backs to fall forward and get those extra yards.  On offense, we have to protect the quarterback and run the ball better.  What we really need to do is to improve.  Lots of room for improvement.  We have to get better because we’re playing in three weeks.

LH : I know you won’t use this as an excuse but it is a reason.  Practice was delayed almost 11 hours due to the weather.  How much does that effect your team?

CS : We had planned to practice earlier but we got rain.  We had to delay that and, once the bad weather had passed, then we had an event where the players had to meet our fans.  It’s just something you cannot control.  We had “Fan Day” so we had a lot of time off.  We had to go at the end of the day and it was a long day for the players.  We had them up early to get ready and then we had to wait.

LH : Does Coach Gilbert get a Green and Gold cupcake for his birthday or is that a trade secret?

CS : That’s a trade secret. (Laughter). He’s really doing a good job.  Our offense is coming along.  He’s trying to work with three quarterbacks and he’s trying to put that all together.

LH : You basically, by the use of your spread formation, force teams to play man zero coverage in the secondary.  Once your running back breaks through to the second level, there’s not a whole lot of people left on defense who can legitimately make a play, is there?

CS : You saw that tonight.  Our offense scored because, once that running back breaks it to the second level, the safety coming up to fill has to make the tackle or it’s a big play.  That safety needs to be a really good open-field tackler.  That’s what we preach to our secondary guys.  We have to be able to tackle because the other guys have play-makers as well especially on the outside.  When a team throws that quick pass, we have to come up and make that tackle.

LH : The big thing with the spread offense is that it makes the defense account for the quarterback.  That puts them in a bind, doesn’t it?

CS : That puts a lot of pressure on the defense.  It allows the offensive lineman to get to the second level and it pulls the linebackers up.  The quarterback can throw over the top or take it to the outside himself.  What we’re looking for is those six-yard and seven-yard runs.  That keeps the chains moving.