Bulls Offensive Struggles Continue

After losing seven defensive starters, including five currently on NFL rosters, there were several questions on how the USF defense would fare in 2010, but the defense has been solid and it's been the USF offense that has struggled. Through the first two Big East games, against West Virginia and Syracuse,the offense has yet to score a touchdown in conference play.


South Florida came into the season with several questions on defense after losing seven starters, including five currently on NFL rosters. But it is the offense that has struggled in the Bulls' first two Big East games.

In eight quarters of conference play, the offense has yet to score a touchdown, settling for a pair of field goals in a 20-6 loss at West Virginia in the last outing.

During the previous game, the Bulls got a touchdown on a kickoff return but the offense managed only one field goal in a 13-9 loss to Syracuse.

"We've got to put some points up," said coach Skip Holtz, as quoted by the St. Petersburg Times after the loss at West Virginia. "We're playing way too well on defense. They deserve better. Our offense right now is not very productive.

"It's bad. It really is."

The Bulls managed only 202 yards in total offense against the Mountaineers after gaining only 307 in the loss to Syracuse.

Throw in a 330-yard performance in a loss to Florida, and the Bulls are averaging just under 280 yards a game in their defeats.

Against West Virginia, the Bulls got past the 50-yard line on only five possessions, and one of those started in Mountaineers territory.

Turnovers have hurt.

Quarterback B.J. Daniels threw three interceptions against West Virginia, one just before halftime that allowed the Mountaineers to go up by two touchdowns at the break.

Holtz took the blame for that one because Daniels had done something similar in the loss to Florida that turned that game around. The coach said he should have played it safer.

But the fact is that Daniels has nine picks in the three losses combined. He has only one in the three wins over suspect competition (Stony Brook, Western Kentucky, Florida Atlantic).

"We have to take a hard look at where we are, what we're doing, who we're doing it with, how we're doing it," Holtz said. "We can't continue going the way we're going right now."

Next up for the Bulls is another Big East road game at Cincinnati on Oct. 22. After that Friday night affair, they are back home for a Thursday game on Nov. 3 against Rutgers.


--WR Dontavia Bogan had 98 yards on 11 receptions against the Mountaineers to move into the No. 8 spot all-time among USF receivers with 1,178 yards. Next target for the senior is Jessie Hester (1,226). The 11 receptions tied a school single-game record set by DeAndrew Rubin against Pittsburgh in 2001.

--RB Moise Plancher had 63 yards rushing to move into sixth place on USF's career rushing list with 1,235 yards on 277 carries. The senior now trails Mike Ford, who had 1,502 yards, for fifth place on the list.

--USF, which joined the conference in 2005, fell to 17-20 all-time in Big East play and to 0-2 for the first time. The Bulls are 3-3 against West Virginia.

GAME BALL GOES TO: LB DeDe Lattimore -- The redshirt freshman, who was praised for his play in the spring, was one of the leaders on defense at West Virginia. He more than doubled his previous single-game high of five with 11 tackles against the Mountaineers, including two for losses. One of the tackles for a loss was his first sack of the season.

KEEP AN EYE ON: WR Lindsey Lamar -- Lamar had four catches on the night at West Virginia, but his main contributions for the Bulls are in the return game. A week after scoring on a 94-yard kickoff return against Syracuse, he had a 55-yard runback that led to USF's first field goal against West Virginia. Lamar had returns of 39 and 31 yards against Florida and a 36-yard runback against Florida Atlantic.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "When you're struggling like we have the last two weeks in the conference, you don't want to start throwing guys under the bus, so to speak. There are guys that are playing well. But we have to look at every option that we can, from quarterback to left tackle to running back to whatever to get the proper people in the right spots." -- Offensive coordinator Todd Fitch, in the Tampa Tribune, on assigning accountability for the Bulls' struggles on offense.


LOOKING GOOD: USF held West Virginia to just 79 yards rushing on 33 attempts with LB DeDe Lattimore leading the way. Lattimore, DE Patrick Hampton, and DT Terrell McClain all had sacks. Senior WR Dontavia Bogan provided the only spark on offense with 11 receptions for 98 yards. The Bulls converted only one of 11 third-down opportunities, making them 16-of-53 (30.0 percent) for the season.

STILL NEEDS WORK: The Bulls haven't scored an offensive touchdown in the last two games, getting their only TD over that span on Lindsey Lamar's kickoff return against Syracuse. USF netted only 65 yards on the ground at West Virginia with RB Moise Plancher getting 63 of the total. QB B.J. Daniels threw three interceptions, one just before halftime that let West Virginia go up by 14 points at the break. Daniels also was sacked four times.


--RB Demetris Murray (ankle) did not play against West Virginia after getting in for only four carries the previous week against Syracuse.

--WR Sterling Griffin (ankle), who has not played this season, was in uniform and on the bench but did not play at West Virginia.

--FS Jerrell Young (ankle), who missed the Syracuse game, returned and was in on seven tackles.

--LT Jamar Bass (ankle) also was back after sitting out the previous week.

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