USF v UF PreGame Thoughts
Depending on who you root for, this is either just another Saturday game or it is the biggest game in your school’s short football history. This is THE game that has been circled on your calendar for the past five years. I think you can tell that the latter perspective is USF’s perspective. If you talk to USF fans, you will get a wide range of thoughts and predictions. UF fans expect a bounce back from the ugly performance last week against Miami of Ohio.
Keys for USF
- First and foremost, the Bulls on the offensive line must protect BJ Daniels. This will be one of the most ferocious pass rushes that USF will see all season long and they must be able to give BJ time to make reads and keep him from taking unnecessary hits. If Daniels doesn’t have time to pass or even dump the ball off to a RB, then it will be a long day for USF.
- USF will need to get the running backs involved in this game one way or another, whether it be hitting them in the flats with a swing pass or throwing in some screen plays to hopefully take advantage of an overzealous UF defense. There are rumors that Demetrius Murray will be starting in the backfield for USF which is almost to be expected after the solid all around performance that he put on during week one. Murray adds a nice touch to the offense and hopefully he can keep it up during this week’s game.
- The wide receivers, Bogan, Landi, Knowles and Bravo-Brown will have to work extremely hard to get open as quickly as possible to help BJ get rid of the ball. Overall though, USF can’t afford any mistakes such as dropped passes or wrong routes. The receivers looked very strong in week one and if they continue playing aggresively, then they should have a good game and help Daniels. Dontavia Bogan also heard that UF defensive back, Janaris Jenkins said,”I’m looking forward to playing UCF Saturday.” So look for a little extra physical play directed at Jenkins. But hopefully, the receivers will just step up in their play.
- On the defensive side of the ball, first and foremost USF has to put pressure on new starter John Brantley. He’s starting his second game and he has to feel some pressure after the performance of his offense against Miami of Ohio. The defense doesn’t have to sack Brantley, but pressure him from every direction and make him throw before he wants to. This is a double edged sword: the defensive backs have to cover the receivers so that Brantley has to hold the ball longer and give the front seven a chance to reach Brantley. If the defense can rattle him and (figuratively) punch him in the mouth they have a chance to cause some bad throws, bad decisions, and hopefully some turnovers.
- If you look at the large upsets in South Florida’s history, one of the biggest stats that stands out in the ’07 Auburn game, ’08 Kansas game, and most recently the ’09 Florida State game, is the Bulls have won the turnover ratio in every game: ten take aways to two giveaways in those games. USF absolutely cannot turn the ball over in this game. It will be tough enough to get a win without making Florida fight for every yard of their field position. If USF can create a turnover or two, that would be definitely create some doubt in the offense’s mind and not to mention the energy and morale boost that it would create on the USF Sideline. BJ Daniels is still a young QB and needs to be wary of trying to force a pass or a run just to make something happen. But more so, the ball needs to be locked up and protected by every player on the field.
- On defense, defensive coordinator Mark Snyder has already made an adjustment to counter UF’s speed. LB Sam Barrington will be starting over Mike Lanaris. This is a counter move directed at Florida’s speedy run game, Demps and Rainey. One of USF’s weaknesses is a power run game which goes North-South. USF’s speed does a great job at taking away the corner from speed runners like Noel Devine and Steve Slaton. USF must take Demps and Rainey out of this game by not letting them hit the corners and cut upfield. If Snyder and his defense can make the offense become one dimensional, it will help put a lot of pressure on John Brantley and his receivers.
- The weakest point for USF against Stony Brook was easily special teams with four punts being fumbled. If that happens, the Bulls have no chance in this game. Even if the returner just fair catches the ball, that will be more beneficial for the team. I’d look for Johnny Sitton or Terrance Mitchell to be put back returning. Or if Faron Hornes looked better this past week in practice, he may be back there returning.
- Last week Miami of Ohio was able to move the ball on UF. However, they were not able to convert these drives into touchdowns. USF must be able to finish off these drives in the end zone and not settle for just field goals. Also, USF’s kicking game is inconsistent enough to give fans and coaches heart attacks when they line up on the field. The Bulls simply have to take every yard that they can possibly scavenge while in Gainsville.
- This game is very winnable for USF but they will have to play their best all around and be firing on all cylinders. Undoubtedly USF is pumped but there have been some questions whether UF is taking this game seriously or not, especially due to some of the quotes that have come from the UF fans and locker room. Coach Skip Holtz has had a solid record of upsets in recent years such as Virginia Tech, Boise State, and West Virginia. All of those coming from a truly over matched Eastern Carolina team. Go Bulls!
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