BULLS – AFTER THE DUST SETTLES : CONNECTICUT
By Leo Haggerty

OK, let’s get the positives out of the way.  It’s a win for USF.  The Bulls remain undefeated at 7-0.  South Florida is heading to Houston leading the American Athletic Conference’s East Division for a revenge match up with the Cougars.

Now, for the not so positives.  The Green & Gold still have not put a full 60 minute performance together in all three phases of the game.

Against UConn, it was a tale of two halves.  In the opening 30 minutes, the USF defense shined holding the Huskies to seven points at intermission while the offense sputtered.

In the second half, the offense came to life posting 31 points.  Sadly, the defense gave up 23 markers to keep the contest close until final UConn onside kick was recovered by Trevor Sands with 2:24 left in the game.  From there, the Bulls ran out the clock.

When it came to special teams, K Coby Weiss missed a makeable 34-yard field goal.  That could have extended the Bulls lead to double digits early in the third period.  So, as you can see, all three areas had major breakdowns that need to be corrected.

The big, and I mean big, unknown about the Bulls is we still have no idea if this team is as good as its record.  To be perfectly honest, USF has played up or, in the opinion of some people, played down to the competition.

The Bulls begin to run the gauntlet of their schedule this week starting with a roadie to the Lone Star state.  They follow that up home date with Tulane.

Then, the trifecta that will determine if South Florida will have any post season aspirations begins.  Two road games with a much-improve Cincinnati and always tough Temple and then the finale at home against in-state rival UCF.

This is for sure.  We will definitely know by the end of the regular season the makeup of the Bulls.  The game with the Cougars will go a long way to determine the fate of the USF football team.

Frankly, South Florida has to play better if the winning streak is going to continue.  This fact has not gone unnoticed by HC Charlie Strong as well as RB Johnny Ford along with DB Nick Roberts plus QB Blake Barnett.  Their comments below will make that point crystal clear.

LH : It seemed like a tale of two halves tonight.  The first half, your defense plays well.  The second half, your offense plays well.  Just can’t seem to put 60 minutes together?

CS : No we can’t and we haven’t done it all year long.  You’re right.  The first half the offense couldn’t get it going and, in the second half, the defense couldn’t stop them.  We aren’t complete.  We have to be complete because we play Houston next week on the road.  If we play like we did tonight we will get embarrassed.

LH : Some people will say that your offense is the problem.  Tonight, you average almost 10 yards a play.  Is it just that you cannot find the end zone?

CS : You have to get in the end zone.  You have to score.  It’s not just the offense.  You have to play well in all three phases of the game.  It’s really amazing that we can sit here and complain about a team that’s 7-0.  The fact is that we can play much better than we are playing.

LH : You brought up practice.  Not a good week of practice?

CS : It wasn’t that it was a bad week of practice.  We just allowed some plays to hit us that we didn’t do a good job of stopping in practice.  When that happens, you got to go back and correct it.  Sometimes, you try to do too much.  When that happens, you got to just have the players listen and the coaches do the thinking.

LH : You hit the gauntlet of your schedule next week at Houston.  Is it time to pick up the intensity and focus at practice?

CS : Yes, it’s time.  We have to go on the road and play Houston.  We have to play Cincinnati.  We have to go to Temple and then Central Florida at home. Tulane is in there too.  We are going to find out what type of team we have.  It’s going to be a true test.

LH : Is it an advantage to be running with the football and to sneak a peek at the video board to see where the defenders are coming from?

JF : Yes but it slowed me down.  I’ll know now to just finish the run.

LH : As much as you spread people out on offense, once you get through the first level it’s a footrace, correct?

JF : Honestly, it is.

LH : It’s nice to be 7-0 and worrying how to get better, right?

JF : Yes, it’s nice to be 7-0.

LH : You start to run the gauntlet now starting with Houston and finishing with Central Florida.  Is it time to pick up the pace a notch?

JF : Not really.  We just have to play USF football.  We need to play USF football.

LH : You start the gauntlet with Houston this weekend.  A little revenge factor here?

NR : Oh yeah.  Yeah.  We have a target on our head so we have to prepare for a big game.

LH : Is it tougher to watch a game instead of playing in it?

NR : Yeah it’s tough but I saved the season so that’s good.

LH : Coach seemed disappointed even with the win.  Were you disappointed with the overall play of the team?

NR : Honestly, it should have been a blowout but it’s OK? It’s a win.

LH : You have to be frustrated over the first interception because that trailer route was going to be a long gainer, right?

BB : Yes but every interception is frustrating.  Luckily, our offense did a good job of understanding that, unfortunately, those things happen.  We just have to move on from it.

LH : Was it nice to get St. Felix back in the fold?

BB : Yes.  Absolutely.  That was a great job on his part on those two catches.  I think he had like 123 yards in two catches.  That’s impressive and for him to have that kind of game is really exciting.

LH : The gauntlet starts Saturday in Houston.  How important is it to pick it up at practice?

BB : Big time.  Once again, it’s a faceless opponent.  We want to prepare as well as we can this week and then come out and play our best football.