USF's Daniels questionable against Cardinals

With USF preparing for a key home game against Louisville, starting quarterback B.J. Daniels remained questionable with a shoulder injury. At 5-5, the Bulls need a victory over either Louisville or over West Virginia the following Thursday to become bowl eligible. Check out the scouting report on this weeks match-up, roster report, keys to the game, and more.

Quarterback B.J. Daniels remained questionable with a shoulder injury as South Florida began preparations for a key home game against Louisville.

The junior left the game against Miami in the third quarter after landing on his shoulder, resulting in what has been described as a joint bruise.

He did not return, and coach Skip Holtz did not know if he will be able to return to practice before Friday's game against the Cardinals.

That is not a good sign.

"I have found that people that don't practice all week normally don't play very well," Holtz said.

If Daniels is out or, at best, limited for the game, the responsibility for leading the offense will fall on sophomore Bobby Eveld, just as it did about a year ago this time when Daniels was hurt against Miami and sat out the loss to Connecticut the next week.

Eveld could not engineer another comeback win against Miami this time, however. He completed five of nine pass attempts but could not get the Bulls to within field-goal range.

Holtz noted that Eveld was not entirely at fault for that, pointing to two key drops and a crucial penalty that wiped out a gain to Miami's 26-yard-line and put the Bulls back on their own side of the 50.

"A lot of people are going to point and give Bobby the blame," Holtz said, "but I think there are a lot of other factors and a lot of people that could have stepped up in that game and helped a young quarterback in that situation."

Still, Eveld did have to bear some responsibility.

"Bobby did not look comfortable," Holtz said, "and going back and watching the film, very uncharacteristically Bobby was not as sharp mentally as he has been and not what we have to expect from Bobby on a day-to-day basis.

"I'm not pointing the finger at Bobby, but obviously he is going to have to play better."

The Bulls need a victory over either Louisville in this upcoming game or over West Virginia the following Thursday to become bowl eligible.

 

The Bulls are 5-5 overall and at 1-4 in the Big East, are one of only two teams not still mathematically in the conference race. Syracuse, also 1-4 in league play, is the other.

 

NOTES, QUOTES

--At 5-5, USF must win out, including a potential bowl victory, to reach at least eight wins for a sixth consecutive season. The Bulls have been 8-5 in each of the last three years and were 9-4 in 2007 and 2006.

--The Bulls have played in six straight bowl games, starting with the 2005 Meineke Car Care Bowl when they lost 14-0 to North Carolina State. The Bulls won the 2006 Papajohns.com Bowl over East Carolina, lost to Oregon in the 2007 Sun Bowl, and have beaten Memphis in the 2008 MajicJack St. Pete Bowl, Northern Illinois in the 2009 International Bowl, and Clemson in the 2010 Meineke Car Car Bowl.

--USF has started the same five players in the interior up front on offense and made only one change in their front four on defense. Freshman DT Elkino Watson started one game. Otherwise, it has been Sophomore DE Ryne Giddins, senior DT Keith McCaskill, junior DT Cory Grissom, and senior DE Patrick Hampton up front on defense. On offense, junior LT Mark Popek, senior LG Jeremiah Warren, senior C Chaz Hine, junior RG Danous Estenor, and redshirt freshman RT Quinterrius Eatmon have started all 10 games.

SERIES HISTORY: USF leads Louisville 5-3 (last meeting, 2010, USF 24-21 OT).

SCOUTING THE OFFENSE: USF becomes a different team if junior QB B.J. Daniels isn't able to play. Even if he is available, his shoulder injury may limit his willingness to take off and run when necessary. With sophomore Bobby Eveld at the helm, the Bulls become more of a conventional spread offense with lots of throwing and RBs Darrell Scott and Demetrus Murray handling the rushing duties.

SCOUTING THE DEFENSE: USF's effort on defense was certainly good enough to win against Miami. The Bulls didn't give up a touchdown, but couldn't stop the Hurricanes from converting three third-and-short situations on their way to the decisive field goal. For the year, the Bulls are holding opponents to under 102 yards rushing and 348 yards in total offense a game.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "It has been extremely difficult, extremely frustrating -- I don't want to say difficult -- to be as close as we are continuously and still come up on the short end. This is the third game where, literally, we have lost on the last play of the game." -- Coach Skip Holtz, reflecting on the 6-3 loss to Miami on a field goal as time ran out and referring to the earlier losses to Cincinnati and Rutgers.

 

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

THIS WEEK'S GAME: Louisville at USF, Nov. 25 -- Louisville suddenly finds itself in the middle of the Big East race, tied with Rutgers at the top with a 4-2 record just ahead of two-loss teams Cincinnati, West Virginia, and Pittsburgh. The Cardinals, who are 6-5 overall, hold the tiebreaker with wins over Rutgers and West Virginia but have lost to Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. This will be the regular-season finale for the Cardinals.

KEYS TO THE GAME: Get the offense moving. The problem is, the Bulls may be without QB B.J. Daniels, who bruised his right shoulder landing after being tackled in the third quarter of the loss to Miami. Another super effort by the defense looks to be necessary for the Bulls to have a chance.

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

QB Bobby Eveld -- Eveld has played sparingly in 2011 after leading USF to a win over Miami and starting against Connecticut in the last two games of 2010. The sophomore is 17-of-32 passing for just 144 yards with three interceptions and no touchdown passes.

LB DeDe Lattimore -- Lattimore was all over the field in the loss to Miami. He leads the Bulls in tackles with 76 stops with 12.5 for losses (7.0 sacks).

DE Claude Davis -- Davis is a pass-rushing specialist off the bench with six sacks among his 14 tackles. Overall, half of his tackles have resulted in lost yardage for the opponent.

 

ROSTER REPORT

--Junior QB B.J. Daniels is questionable for the game against Louisville. Because the game is the day after Thanksgiving, Daniels will have one less day to get ready after injuring his shoulder in the loss to Miami.

--Sophomore QB Bobby Eveld will start if B.J. Daniels is not available. He started last year's regular-season finale against Connecticut when Daniels was hurt the previous week against Miami.

--True freshman Matt Floyd currently is the No. 3 quarterback on the depth chart but he has done nothing but run the scout team this fall.

--Sophomore DT Luke Sager is a question mark because of a concussion. He is a backup for senior Keith McCaskill and has played in all 10 games, recording eight tackles with one sack.

--Senior LB Curtis Weatherspoon, a backup, is out with a knee injury. He has played in seven games and has 10 tackles.

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