USF vs UT Martin: What to Look For

USF kicks off the 2008 season vs. Tennessee-Martin Saturday Aug 30 at Raymond James Stadium. Analyst Cory Long prepares you for what to look for at every position in the Bulls home opener against the Skyhawks when they meet at 7:00 pm on the field. Only on

There's nothing more exciting then opening week of the new season for your favorite program…and we'll get to that next week when they open up against a semi-legitimate program.


As for this week, it's the extended preseason and the annual "let's see what we got" game against <insert "FCS" school here>. As opponents go there are worse than Tennessee-Martin, but it's safe to say that UTM isn't going to give USF much of a game and if they do there's major cause for concern.

So rather get into the hoopla of breaking down statistics (there aren't any) and going through the quote machines, I'm going to prepare you for what to see at every position and if things go like I predict this should be a good game.


QUARTERBACKS – In a perfect world Matt Grothe should play a little more than a half and not carry the ball more than 5-8 times (hopefully running out of bounds). Expect him to complete passes to several different receivers as they will be shuttling in and out of the lineup all season (it's good to have depth). By the middle of the third quarter Grothe will give way to Grant Gregory and we can officially start preparing for next weekend.


RUNNING BACKS – Rumors say that Mike Ford will get light work this week and that sounds about right, I'm actually hoping Jamar Taylor gets a good workload and can establish himself as a crucial part of the three-headed backfield. Ben Williams will play quite a bit because he's still the most trustworthy back in the system and the one they can count on in pass protection. Richard Kelly will also get see a lot more playing time and be involved in more packages. Also expect Alston Samuels and Moise Plancher to get some work in if all goes well.


WIDE RECIEVERS – The over/under on receivers who will record a catch in this game is at 11 (counting tailbacks) and unlike the other positions, I feel like you'll see some guys considered "starters" late in the game because the coaches will be experimenting a little and trying to find the right mix for the right packages.


OFFENSIVE LINE – Obviously we don't want any injuries in the extended preseason but we REALLY don't want any injuries at this position where the starting five are experienced and the backup five are new to the game. Obviously it's important the starting five get good work in because they will need to be the starting five all season if the Bulls have championship hopes. But the backups REALLY need work and I'm hopeful the second five will get at least a quarter, if not a little more, to acclimate themselves to this college football thing.


DEFENSIVE LINE – All four starting defensive linemen are upperclassmen, which mean they know what to do. So I really don't want to see much of them, I know what they can do and I'd rather them save it for whatever quarterback O'Leary shuttles onto the field. Instead I'd like to see the next generation of QB killers like Craig Marshall and David Bedford grab a hold of the UTM quarterback and squeeze the life out of him. Wouldn't you like to see that too?


LINEBACKERS – Everyone's interested in how Kion Wilson is going to do in replacing the former team captain, Ben Moffitt, but I'm interested to see if either Brouce Mompremier or Tyrone McKenzie can become a star at the position (maybe both?). I hope the unit is aggressive but not reckless and they deliver at like three big-time sticks on unsuspecting offensive ball carriers.


SECONDARY – Yes, yes Mike Jenkins and Trae Williams are gone, but Nate Allen remains and I believe he's among the top five in the nation at his position. Also I'm really eager to see Quenton Washington get on the field. Here's a young man who led the Southeast in interceptions his senior year (which was overshadowed by having Noel Devine on his team) and has been itching to get back on the field after a redshirt season. I actually think the secondary will be good to go because the USF pass rush is so strong.


SPECIAL TEAMS – Hmm, I don't know if we'll see the 2008 kicking recruits so we're back to hoping that we get more good Delbert Alvarado days then bad ones. And maybe Marcus Edwards will take one to the house.


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