SHOOTING THE BULL – MEMPHIS – NOVEMBER 5
By Leo Haggerty

MEMPHIS

South Florida hits the road again to take on Memphis Saturday.  Kickoff is scheduled for noon at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.

The Bulls come into the contest with a record of 1-5 (0-4 in the American Athletic Conference.  The Tigers are sporting a 3-2 log (2-2 in the AAC).

Had my usual Zoom time with the Green & Gold HC Jeff Scott.  Below are his replies to my two questions and, with Coach Scott, you don’t get cheated on his responses.

LH : At the midway point of the season, what’s the most surprising thing and the most disappointing thing you’ve experienced?

JS : Oh, you know, there’s a lot of different things that I could go into.  I think the biggest surprise is how impressive the teams that we played are in this league.  Not being a part of this league before, obviously I’ve been in a completely different league, I believe that the top four or five teams in our league could compete with the middle or the bottom parts of the Power 5 leagues.  I really believe that.  Last week just look at Tulsa’s defense.  I think their defense would rank somewhere around seventh or eighth in the league that I just came from, honestly.  Just looking at the personnel, the size and speed and all these types of things.  That’s probably one of the biggest surprises as how impressed I’ve been with teams that we’ve played with their size and speed.  It really encourages me that the type of young men that we can go out and recruit in the next couple of years and the type of players we will be able to attract to South Florida.  The biggest disappointment, obviously, is how we played through the first six weeks.  I knew it was going to be a process and I knew that we had a lot of things to correct.  I really thought we we be in a better position after six weeks.  Hey, but now, this is where we are.  We have four opportunities in front of us.  It’s all about what’s next.  We can’t do anything right now because what has happened is in the past.  All we can really focus on is improving these last four weeks and that starts this Saturday at Memphis.

LH : If I’m the opposing team, and I look at the film, it’s no secret that you are having trouble stopping the run.  Is this a scheme issue or do you need to do some different things or are guys just going to have to step it up and play better?

JS : Well, I’m confident in our scheme. The same scheme we’re running right now helped FAU win a conference championship last year.  It’s been very successful for Coach Spencer in the past.  I think what it really comes down to is the execution of the scheme.  Unfortunately, we’re still learning.  It’s still a work in progress.  This first year is kind of like the first preseason to be honest.  We’re doing a lot of things that we would be doing in the spring and in spring ball.  Also, in the summer and all that we missed for those four months.  We just happen to be doing those during the season.  I think it’s some valuable experience but it takes time.  It takes time to install and to learn.  I think it’s been more of the execution, or the lack of execution, of what we have been asking guys to do.  That’s something that I look at every week when we don’t have success on offense or defense or special teams and say is this something schematically where we are getting outcoached in certain areas.  Are these things that we can learn and clean up? We have had some experience with that.  Really, a lot of times, it’s guys getting aligned right away and doing their job and now doing someone else’s job.  Then, fundamentally, wrapping up whenever you get there.  Things like that.  We’re still a work in progress and that’s kind of where we are right now.

Well, all that’s left is to make a prediction.  Sadly, it’s not the one that Bulls fans want to hear,  UM, 38-24, as USF still searches for that elusive first conference victory.