In the season opener the Bulls defense showed up, and there wasn't much passing allowed, so it's hard to gage how good the USF secondary is. Secondary Coach Rick Smith gives a lot of credit to the Bulls defensive line.
"The corners weren't tested, the safeties had to fit in the run and they played pretty good, but they weren't challenged," said Smith. "I told Coach after the game that I'm not sure how good we are in the secondary, because our D-line was so domineering…The quarterback didn't have time to throw. Hopefully they'll be that domineering this week."
One area the corners were very solid in was at making tackles, where they didn't miss one the whole game.
"George Baker graded out extremely well. I was pleased with both of my corners," said Smith. "They were 9 for 9 in tackling and were 100 percent. George was 3 for 3, Kayvon Webster was 4 for 4, Joshua Brown was 1 for 1, and Fidel Montgomery was 1 for 1."
The Bulls safeties didn't grade out nearly as high.
"The safeties weren't as good. Jon Lejiste was 1 for 2 and Jaquez Jenkins was 3 for 6, so they were 50 percent. Tabuteau didn't have any and Mark Joyce was 2 for 2," said Smith. "So they only tackled at 60 percent and we want them to be at 85 percent and above."
Coach Smith did say that they looked improved after a great week of practice.
"Today's practice was as good as anyone that I've been around at South Florida," said Smith, who said why. "The seniors and their leadership, they've just decided that they're going to coach the guys we're coaching and they're not going to accept a guy not playing up, and that goes for the entire defense."
With Chattanooga in the books, Smith said they will be tested this week against Nevada.
"They have three really good receivers and the quarterback can throw the ball," said Smith. "We worry about him scrambling, and us losing containment, so it will be a test."
Nevada's Sophmore quarterback Cody Fajardo looked very strong in his second year as the dual threat QB thre for 230 yards and gained 97 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
"It's definitely going to be a challenge. The quarterback is very good. He threw for about 12 00 yards last year and only played in about half the games," said Smith. "Last week he was 25 of 30 or something like that for 230 yards. They boot leg and go play action, and try and get a post route or spread them out. He does those things well and if you don't contain him….He's gone."
Another concern will be what Nevada does on the ground. The Wolfpack's running game was paced by Stefphon Jefferson who ran for 145 yards and three touchdowns.
"We'll be tested this week because of what they do in the running game," said Smith. "They're going to spread you out to the edge and our corners are going to be isolated. It's going to match our corner against their receiver and if they max protect, we got to make a play."
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