By Leo Haggerty
Archived under Featured Articles – College & University of South Florida 

OK, I’m going to really go out on a limb here.  For the first time in dealing with USF football, I am going to seriously question the defensive coaching philosophy of the Bulls.  Trust me, that’s an extremely slippery slope but I feel I need to speak my mind.

Before I go off on my tirade, let’s get the facts out of the way.  The Green & Gold got embarrassed by Navy 35-3 in Annapolis. To make matters worse, Middies QB Malcolm Perry shredded the USF defense for 188 yards on 22 carries with two of those resulting in touchdowns.

After seeing those statistics. for the life of me, I cannot understand the rationale behind the defensive game plan of DC Brian Jean-Mary.  Especially after the Bulls had so much trouble defensing the same type of offense when USF played Georgia Tech last year.

Now, I know there are many ways to accomplish stopping the triple-option attack that Navy employs.  My problem with South Florida was that their plan to defense the Midshipmen was definitely not working and there was no Plan B.

In my opinion, you have to stop the option inside out.  You tackle the fullback, who is the dive back, and you hit the quarterback in the mouth every play.  This way your defenders know that the only, and I emphasize only, player that can hurt you is the pitch man so you rally to the football.

If you want to see how to play the option, go watch Clemson.  They used to try and feather the QB which means you try and string out the quarterback so help comes from the inside and you can help on the pitch.  The Tigers found out that didn’t work and, when new DC Brent Venebles came on board, that philosophy changed completely.

Now, Clemson aggressively attacks the quarterback on every play.  Granted, you may say that the Tigers have better athletes but I submit to you that the scheme is sound.

The most dangerous player in an option offense is the QB.  In my mind, you can’t let him beat you and that what the Bulls allowed to happen last weekend in Annapolis.  Perry averaged, and I reiterate averaged, just over 8.5 yards-per-carry.  That won’t win you a whole lot of football games, if any.

Hopefully, the Bulls won’t have to concern themselves with dealing with another option attack this season.  So that will give the coaching staff an entire off-season as well as spring practice to come up with Plan B because they surely need it.

So, what does USF have to do to get back into the win column against East Carolina.  Check out my GOAL LINE STAND column later in the week for my four keys to victory.