The USF football team appears to have turned a corner, finally getting back on the path to national recognition. While the story for the first two games this season may have revolved around the Bulls’ offensive prowess, the defense has held their opponents to a total of only 37 points; allowing only one passing touchdown in their first two games. The Bulls will need to continue that trend as they travel to Syracuse and square off against the Orange’s newly implemented hurry-up offense.
First-team all-conference junior cornerback Deatrick Nichols anchors a secondary that returns four of their five starters from 2015; holding themselves to the high standards that helped rank the defensive unit 14th in the nation for interceptions with 17 for the season.
Last week the defense kept the Northern Illinois tandem of Kenny Golladay and Drew Hare in check, but did not meet their own expectations despite a dominant 48-17 victory.
“Being more aggressive for the ball,” said Nichols about improving on defense. “Last week we didn’t have no takeaways or turnovers. We played a good game, but we still follow our goal of takeaways…we just have to get the ball back.”
The secondary will be looking to take advantage of the new hurry-up offense Syracuse has implemented after watching quarterback Eric Dungey complete 25-of-51 passing attempts last week against the Louisville defense.
Nichols echoes the sentiments of his head coach, understanding that there is a highly-anticipated matchup next week against Florida State, but that the team’s focus is on the team lined up in front of them.
“We take one game at a time. I’m taking one game at a time,” said Nichols. “Syracuse, we can’t look over them. They’ve got a high powered offense; we’ve got to be locked in and focus on them…not looking at the outside, we’re staying inside and just keep playing. Taking it one game at a time.”