BULLS : GOAL LINE STAND : ELON
By Leo Haggerty

Finally, USF opens the 2018 campaign when the Green & Gold host Elon on Saturday night at Raymond James Stadium.  Kickoff is scheduled for 6 PM but, with the way that Mother Nature has been acting this week in Tampa, don’t be surprised if that time is pushed back due to inclement weather.

I will be posting my four keys to victory each week the day before the Bulls take the field.  With that being said, some will be on Thursday and some Friday.  Welcome to the American Athletic Conference.

As usual, don’t be afraid to let me know if you agree or disagree with any or all of my assessments.  Your feedback is always welcome.

1ST DOWN

PUT THE PEDAL TO THE METAL EARLY

This one may be the shortest 1st down that I’ve ever written and for good reason.  It is as clear-cut and precise as you can get.

USF needs to come out smoking from the opening kickoff in all three phases of the game.  The offense needs to be hitting on all cylinders.  The defense needs to be dominant.  The kicking game needs to be productive.

Above is a prime example of what that looks like for a half.  That’s totally taking control of the game from the outset.

No excuses.  The Bulls need to bring their A game from the get go.

2ND DOWN

TAKE NO PRISONERS

The Bulls need to put this game away early. Score quickly and score often as well as keeping Elon off the scoreboard.

Yes, I know Elon is not a Power 5 or Group of 5 opponent but they are a bunch of guys who, in their mind, were slighted by the bigger school.  We saw all too clearly the fight Stony Brook put up last year in the home opener.  USF does not want a repeat performance of that outing.

All I have to do is resurrect last year’s memory of Troy going into Baton Rouge and beating LSU.  To add insult to injury, the Bayou Tigers had to pay the Trojans over a million dollars to get shellacked in front of their own Death Valley faithful.

Just remember that the Elon mascot is the Phoenix.  For the unaware, that’s a mythological bird that rises from its own ashes.

South Florida needs to make sure that the Phoenix doesn’t rise.  Get them down and keep them down so the outcome isn’t in doubt come the fourth quarter.

If they don’t, they could be in a dogfight late in the tilt and then anything is possible.  Just ask LSU.

3RD DOWN

WORK OUT THE KINKS

South Florida needs to get some quality work in game conditions for the new members of the team.  This axiom holds true especially for their quarterbacks.

None of the three QBs that have been battling all fall practice for the starting nod to line up under center Saturday have taken any meaningful snaps for the Green & Gold.  Getting at least one, and possibly all three, some action when the bullets are flying for real is a must.

Also, all the “Baby Bulls” need to get used to competing in the cavernous confines of the RayJay.  When you from playing in front of less than a thousand fans in a high school stadium with eight rows of bleachers to a state-of-the-art 65,000 plus seat facility, it takes a little getting used to.

USF can afford a few guys getting starry eyed this week against Elon.  Definitely not next week against Georgia Tech or the Ramblin’ Wreck will run you over.

4TH DOWN

NO MAJOR INJURIES

Yeah, I know I have this at 4th down and you could argue it needs to be higher. Plus, if it’s the right injury, or should I say the wrong one, it’s definitely 1st down material.

The Green & Gold MUST avoid any long-term injuries especially with Georgia Tech looming on the horizon.  The Yellowjackets are one of the few teams that run the true triple option and South Florida will need all hands on deck especially on the defensive side of the pigskin.

 

 

 

 

 

4TH DOWN

NO MAJOR INJURIES