McCarney Knows a Little Something About USF

Dan McCarney knows what this Saturday's game means to South Florida. He spent the 2007 season on the Bulls' coaching staff when they rose to the No. 2 team in the country. Despite their recent success, the Gators still know the Bulls will come to Gainesville looking to make a statement.

"There is more and more reason to mention them with anyone in the state of Florida," Dan McCarney said. "I don't know why anyone wouldn't recognize or respect that program. I'm not surprised by any of the success. I was there and saw the talent. We all know the talent in this state."

The Florida coaches know the talent level of South Florida, and it didn't take long for the Florida players to understand it. The Bulls went to Tallahassee last year and dominated the entire game against Florida State. McCarney and the Florida coaches have reminded the Gators of that game.

"I watched the tape where they went to Florida State," McCarney said. "17-7 I think was the final, the game was worse than that. They went up and completely dominated that game. We don't have to fabricate something fake around here about the talent in that program."

The win over Florida State came the week after USF quarterback Matt Grothe suffered a season-ending injury. B.J. Daniels took over and led his team to victory. Daniels went 8-21 for 215 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. He also ran 23 times for 126 yards.

"Obviously one of the most talented quarterbacks in college football, and that's no exaggeration," McCarney said. "I was there when we recruited BJ Daniels. We thought at the time we got an unbelievable steal, that he could go anywhere in the country and have a chance to be successful. It sure played out that way. He's one of the most elusive running backs as a quarterback in the country."

McCarney sees similarities between Daniels and a former quarterback he coached.

"I made our defensive coaches a little nervous about it," McCarney said, "but he reminds me of Seneca Wallace, who played for me at Iowa State and has had a great, long career in the NFL."

Discipline is an important characteristic for the Florida defensive line this weekend. Daniels has the ability to reverse field and being out of position for the shortest time could result in a big gain for the Bulls.

"He can take that ball and pull it down at any time," McCarney said. "He can turn a bad play into a good one, a good one into a great one. We have got to get a lot of hats on him. Lane integrity, lane relationship and gap discipline is important. If you don't have to coach against him, he's a guy that's just fun to watch play the game of college football."

South Florida has the benefit of returning all five offensive line starters from last season to go with their returning quarterback. The Gators can't let Daniels sit in the pocket, but the pressure will be more difficult with the veterans on the offensive line for USF.

"Four of those five were there when I was at South Florida," McCarney said. "Whether they were playing or on the scout team, I know them real well. It's a physical bunch. It's an experienced offensive line with all returning starters. Any time you bring your entire offensive line back from the year before that won a bowl game, you know we have a real challenge."

McCarney is happy with the performance of his defensive line last weekend. Justin Trattou played 49 snaps while Duke Lemmens was on the field for 47, and McCarney would like to lower those numbers.

"Solid overall," McCarney said of his defensive linemen. "We played 13 guys. They didn't get in the end zone and had four yards rushing. On any given Saturday, that's all a positive thing to build on. When you watch tape, we have a lot to get better. I didn't chart any loafs, and you never take that for granted, especially with some new guys playing. The effort was real good."

The freshmen defensive linemen played in their first game in The Swamp, and their position coach came away impressed.

"Ronald Powell and Sharrif Floyd were the best of the guys that played," McCarney said. "Shariff graded out 90% on 24 plays, really did a good job. There didn't appear to be a lot of drop off when he went in the game, and he backed up a guy who was SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week. I was proud of all the young guys."
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