Behind a fast, aggressive and hard hitting defense, USF shut down West Virginia to spark the biggest win in their short football history. A lot of people who watched the West Virginia are going to say that USF is now the favorite to win the Big East.
"Now I'm being serious, this is what I tell the kids every Friday during our last defensive meeting," said Bulls defensive coordinator Coach Wally Burnham. "Whoever shows up at this stadium, we don't talk about who it is, we don't talk about the next game and we don't talk about the Big East. We talk about the team that shows up here on Saturday. We don't give them a name or anything. In the last Friday meeting, I said we're gonna' play whoever shows up. That's our attitude."
The Bulls have the players, but there were concerns heading into the season on how they would gel. Through 4 games the defense is making plays, but does coach Burnham think he has a good tackling team?
"Well, we're a lot better than I thought we were gonna' be," said Coach Burnham. "We work on tackling every day, everybody on defense. If you miss a tackle on Saturday, [come Monday] you'll have to do ten tackles on the tackling sled. It's just an interest that we make [ours], we're gonna' run the ball, we're gonna' step on their toes and put our face on the ball. Our guys are flying around and being really aggressive. We preach that everyday."
One of the leaders of the defense is senior middle linebacker Ben Moffitt, who lead the team in tackles in 2006 and his team leadership has helped bring the defense together. Moffitt is a hard worker and a family man, but does he represent what Burnham values most in this defense?
"No doubt in my mind. He's the tow guy. He's a kind of guy that could have played back in the sixties and seventies. He's just a work guy that doesn't take any crap from any of the players. He's a leader by action [and] by words. He's encouraging and mature about it and that helps in his leadership."
Burnham has coached Ben Moffitt for five years, in four years he hasn't gotten any interceptions, and now he has three in two games; what does coach attributed that to?
"A lot of good film study. He's done a great job doing that."
The Bulls have forced 17 turnovers already this season, and amazingly has had a three different players named the Defensive Player of the Week. Every week it seems that a different guy is making big plays at key times. What does Coach Burnham attribute that to?
"Eleven people hustling and that's all I can say about that," said Burnham. "That's the truth, there are eleven people hustling and doing all they can do. They are doing a great job of getting after the football and ball carrier."
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