Opponent Q & A: South Florida


We had a chance to recently chat with Matt Staton of The Bull Rush, a USF fan blog. Last year, Matt wrote for Green, Gold & Bold, and answered our questions regarding Skip Holtz & USF. This year, he does the same for us. Here’s the first question.

1) After charging out to a 4-0 start which included beating Big East part-timer Notre Dame, the Bulls have really fallen to the bottom of the Big East standings. Obviously, lots of questions are being asked about the team this season. Care to sum up this collapse?

His answer to this question, along with the rest of them are after the jump.

1) After charging out to a 4-0 start which included beating Big East part-timer Notre Dame, the Bulls have really fallen to the bottom of the Big East standings. Obviously, lots of questions are being asked about the team this season. Care to sum up this collapse?
Where to start with the collapse.  There is a lot of blame to go around for this team.  They have injuries, the depth was not there to start with, and even the coaching has not been the same.  Since the loss to Pitt, the team has found a way lose in every fashion, from being blown out, special teams, bad offense, the team can’t seem to put a full effort together on the field and get a win.  The offense has taken a step back, whether by coaching or players, and the defense is wearing down, leading to bad losses, especially late in the game. 

2) What type of offense and defense does Skip Holtz & his staff run, and how is it expected to contain WVU on Thursday night?
The offense is is flux right now.  If Daniels is healthy to go in the game, expect a lot of zone reads in the running game.  Darrell Scott, the bruising running back for USF, is a great north and south runner and compliments Daniels well.  Daniels loves the zone read, bouncing to the outside.  In the passing game, he will look for the short screen passes, slants, etc.  They aren’t a big down field throwing team, due to the playcalling and inexperience at the wide receiver position.  USF may have Sterling Griffin and A.J. Love back for this game, so that will help the receiving corps.  On defense, the Bulls are battered in the secondary, so expect a lot of zone coverage, but a few blitzes from Mark Snyder and from linebacker DeDe Lattimore on the edge.  

3) BJ Daniels was expected to improve in his 2nd season under the Holtz system, however he is hurt and looks to be questionable for Thursday. If Daniels cannot play, will Eveld get the job done?
Daniels is actually having his best statistical season and his injuries in the past were to his legs, this new one is to his shoulder (AC joint in throwing arm).  If he can’t go, Eveld will get the start, making it just his third career start.  He is a 6’6″ drop back passer with a strong and quick release, but is not that mobile, so zone reads, the heart of the USF offense will suffer there.  He was beating Louisville in the last game, making smart throws, but he can slip back to his bad footwork which kills his accuracy and could kill the offense. 

4) During his time at ECU, Skip Holtz had WVU’s number in 2008, and it also seems that USF has had WVU’s number in the past. That combination should obviously worry WVU fans. How will Skip prepare for this game differently than he does other teams, or does he look at every game as the same?
Great question, while the fans are saying this is a game where we can play spoiler, Holtz has already stated he is not taking that mentality.  He is going about the game as he would any other game, but the game is important to him.  It is senior night and with a disappointing season, he really wants to send the seniors out with a win and get to another bowl game, making the 7th in a row.  He says the team is relaxed and ready to go to work this week in order to get the win.  

5) What is the focus of the team leading into a short week knowing they need a win to become bowl eligible?
The team is very focused right, despite all the injuries and negative plays that have cost them.  The seniors are hungry for another game and the underclassmen really want to go out there and lay it all out on the line for the seniors.  It is a very close team, thanks to the captains such as Jerrell Young, Chaz Hine, and AJ Love, and they will go into this game and do anything they can to get the victory. 

6) We all hear the rumor mill. What is the reaction and thought to hearing Skip Holtz’s name being thrown around for the job at UNC?
Skip has done a solid job squashing the rumor that was brought up with UNC, but it is on the minds of the fans (even had one of our wide receivers asking on twitter if it was real).  Skip seems set right now with his job.  His family is here, he loves USF, and seems content.  The rumors are out there and there is every reason he could leave for the UNC job, which may still happen.  At this point, we are living game to game going with the thought that he will be here in 2012 and hopefully down the road as well. 

7) With all the conference talk that’s swallowed the season, what is the mood of the USF program, and where do they feel they make end up?
You just had to ask about realignment.  Right now, we are stuck, whether we like it or not.  Marinatto is trying to keep the sinking ship alive by going out west and trying to put teams back together.  For now and probably next year, we won’t be affected too much.  If he is able to add the other teams, USF will just have to sit tight and play the cards that are dealt.  If Big East football does fall apart, we will lost right there with Cincinnati and Louisville.  Our AD really hasn’t made a move and seems content to sit back and wait.  The most likely move (my opinion, pure opinion on my part) would be for USF to probably either go independent or join that big conference that CUSA and the MWC are forming (worst case scenario).  For now, we just play the games and hope for answers.

Many thanks to Matt over at The Bull Rush for answering our questions!