Answering 10 Burning Questions: 6-10

USFNation came up with the 10 burning questions going into the 2007 season. Now we get to answer them. Read on and find out what questions were answered and which ones will carry over to next season.

How good will the safeties be this season?

The safety unit was a question mark going into the season, but right from the start emerged as a playmaking unit.

 

First year starting sophomore Nate Allen quickly established himself as a player in week two against Auburn. After forcing a fumble, recovering a fumble and intercepting a pass, and was named the Nagurski Defensive Player of the Week. Allen led the secondary and was fourth on the team with 78 tackles, 57 of them solo with 2 TFL's, led the team with 3 FF, was tied for 2nd with 4 picks, and also had 1 FF, with 3 pass break-ups

 

Opposite Allen was Junior strong Safety Carlton Williams who finished fifth on the team with 63 tackles with 5.5 TFL, 1 sack, 1 FF, 1 FR and 2 QB hits. In the big win over West Virginia had 11 tackles. The Bulls also got strong play from Jerome Murphy who saw time at safety and was the team's top option at nickel back, finishing with 57 tackles, 2 TFL, 2 picks and 2 FF, and junior Louis Gachette who had 2 picks with 23 tackles,

 

Through out the season the unit came up big, and with another year of experience and conditioning, both Allen and Williams should be even better.


 

Can the defensive line be a force in 2007?

The Bulls D-line could have been a force, and at times were, but overall the unit wasn't exactly dominating.

 

There's no denying that consensus All-American George Selvie had a phenomenal year, finishing with 31.5 TFL's, a new Big East record and just half a TFL shy of the NCAA record of 32. His 14.5 sacks were 2nd in the nation and his 3 forced fumbles led the Big East. Selvie finished with 58 tackles, 46 of them solo, 12 quarterback hits and 1 blocked kick on the season.

 

Seniors Richard Clebert, Jarriett Buie, Woody George, and sophomore Aaron Harris, all played well, but injuries and depth were a factor all season.

 

The line faired well, but the Bulls also faced some very big offensive lines this year, and gave up some huge games against good running teams, and at times couldn't get near the QB.  

 

The good news is that Selvie will continue to get better, and the Bulls got some valuable time from true freshman Terrell McClain, Josh Smiley and others, but it looks like this question will be asked again in '08.

 

 

How will the Bulls handle the increased national attention?

Through the first six games of the season with huge wins at Auburn and at home against West Virginia, the Bulls handled the pressure like pros. After every win the team was all smiles and the press conferences were full of players eager to talk with.

 

However, going into Rutgers with a No.2 ranking and a target on its back, and cheers of ‘over-rated', the pressure started to mount. After the loss at Rutgers, Matt Grothe, Ben Moffitt and other major players were no where to be found. The story was similar after the loss at Connecticut, and the scene was ugly after the home loss to Cincinnati.

 

Did the Bulls succumb to the pressure? Maybe a little, but probably not very much, but if the pressure is getting to them they can't let it show. It's always easy to be media darlings during a winning streak, but the Bulls have got to learn to handle the bad times better. The Bulls are a young team and have garnered a lot of attention and won't be sneaking up on anyone, so they better get used to it.

 

 

Will this be the year that the Bulls host a sell-out crowd?

We talked about it before the season. Imagining if USF beats Auburn on the road, would the fans fill Raymond James against ACC opponent North Carolina?

 

Well the Bulls did in fact beat Auburn, and a week later had the programs first national ranking, but they didn't sell out against UNC. They had to wait until a week later against then No. 5 ranked Big East rival West Virginia, before 67,012 fans witnessed the first game in a sold out Ray Jay, a 21-13 win.

 

The Bulls did it again when 65,948 fans filled Raymond James to see the Bulls thrash the Knights 64-12

Overall, 2007, was a banner year in terms of attendance. USF averaged 53,170 fans in its six home games at Raymond James Stadium in 2007. That's up from USF's 2006 average attendance of 30,222, so that's an increase of 22,948 over last year, the largest in the NCAA. Not bad for '07 Bulls

 

Can the Bulls win the BIG EAST this year?

The Bulls could have won the BIG EAST this year, and after a huge win against Auburn and an even bigger win versus West Virginia, it seemed more then possible, if not likely.

 

That notion hit a bump three weeks later when the lost their first game of the season and first BE loss 30-27 at Rutgers. The loss was tough to swallow, but the Bulls still were in the driver's seat in the Big East race.

 

That was until the following week, when the Bulls were ejected from that seat in a tough 22-17 loss on a rainy day at Connecticut.

 

The Big East spiral continued the next week with a disappointing 38-33 loss at home against Cincinnati

The Bulls finished with big wins over Syracuse, Louisville, and Pittsburgh, and ended up with a 4-3 conference record, good for 4th in the Big East   


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