SHOOTING THE BULL – TEMPLE – OCTOBER 15
By Leo Haggerty
Normally, I post my “Shooting The Bull” column on Saturday. Now, USF is going to start playing some weekday contests so I’m going to move it up until Thursday to cover all contingencies.
I caught up with South Florida Head Coach Jeff Scott this week to talk about the upcoming contest with the Owls that will kickoff at noon Saturday up in Philadelphia at Lincoln Financial Field. Below are his answers to my queries and, trust me, Coach Scott gives you a complete response as you will see. Enjoy
LH : Temple has been a house-of-horrors for USF. Normally, the game is played up in Philadelphia later in the year where it’s cold or rain or snow or all of the above. You going up there and it’s going to be 57 degrees which is a big change. Is that going to help?
JS : You know, there are some years where you worry about the weather. This year, I haven’t thought about the weather one time. We played at Cincinnati with hardly any fans and I think we’re going to have no fans Saturday. In a normal year, you would think about that as an advantage or a disadvantage. To be honest about it, we are so far away from being where we need to be on Saturdays that I really haven’t even thought about it. I don’t think, considering where we are right now, that it should have any impact on or execution or our need and desire for improvement.
LH : You have one film on Temple and it’s Navy. That will help your defense but can you get anything out of it from an offensive standpoint other than the ability of the Temple defenders. They most probably will not use the same schemes on defense that they will use against a spread team like USF that they used against the triple option Midshipmen. Is that correct?
JS : Obviously, our defense can get everything they need when they watch what Temple’s offense runs. Defensively, for our offense watching their defense, when you watch the game you are just looking at personnel. Then, you have to go back and watch the game from last year. They have the same coordinator. You just have to expect the same thing. It’s similar to, maybe, an opener where you’re playing a team and you have to go back and look at last year’s tape. You don’t have a lot of tape to watch. Obviously, it’s something that you do and we do it every year. I don’t think it’s a huge difference maker as far as where we are in our execution and our need for improvement.
LH : What’s the one big thing that you have to get better at on offense and defense and special teams this week?
JS : Ok, that’s a difficult question because we have a lot of things to improve upon in all three of those. I would say, the one big thing on the offensive side of the ball, we need to be more efficient in our running game. I felt like, last week, I was pleased with some of things that we did through the air. We have to do a better job of our identifications up front in the running game as well as in pass protection with the issues that we had. Our main focus this week was with that group, our offensive line and quarterbacks and running backs and tight ends, communicating with each other. If you don’t have the right linebacker identified or you don’t have the right front called correctly, then everyone is on the wrong person. That would probably be the one thing that I would like to see offensively. Defensively, we have to play more physical. Our scheme is build around having extra linebackers and extra safeties really filling the alleys. I felt like last week we did not fill. I felt that there was some indecision among some guys on exactly what their gap was. That goes back to the alignment and the assignment. But, at the end of the day, we have to set the edge and be more physical in our run fit. Special teams is just having clean execution. It’s really the simple things. It’s the snap and it’s catching the snap on punts. The operation on field goals. Just clean execution all the way around. I don’t think it’s doing anything extraordinary. I think when we’ve shown clean execution, and the only example that I’ve seen so far is on kickoff return, we’ve had big plays.
Well, all that’s left to do is make my prognostication. Sadly, I’m going to have to predict that the Green & Gold come up on the short end of the scoreboard in The City of Brotherly Love. Temple, 31-27, as the Owls stop a late Bulls drive to secure the victory.
Will I be right? Only way to find out is to gather around the TV and find out.