Happy Opening Day Bulls Faithful!
Before we get to the nuts and bolts of Saturday's clash against Division 1-AA Wofford, let's handle the basics.
The Game: USF Bulls vs. Wofford Terriers
The Time: 7 p.m.
The Location: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa
TV: Brighthouse Sports Network and/or ESPN Gameplan
Radio: WFLA 970 AM
Tickets: Still Available
Now for the game.
What do we know about Wofford? Well they are a ranked Division 1-AA (or FCS if you must be technical) program that runs a wishbone-hybrid-wing-T-hybrid-flex triple option spread offense. What this means to you or me is that they have a lot of people running around in the backfield doing all kinds of fancy motion stuff. They were a 9-3 squad last year with losses to Appalachian State, South Carolina and James Madison in the playoffs. They actually smoked Charleston Southern which proves that the Gators don't even schedule tough pansies. The Terriers were second in the FCS nation with over 343 rushing yards per game. They return nine starters (four on offense, five on defense) and their entire kicking game from last season.
The roster includes five former Florida prep players but none of them are even listed on the two deep so we'll move on.
It's noteworthy that with a victory the Bulls will improve their program record against Southern Conference competition to 4-4.
What do we know about USF? We know we should have a good offense if the line holds up. The Bulls "new" offensive coordinator Mike Canales should be upgrade over Greg Gregory and the Bulls will probably try to run the ball more and utilize the other weapons besides Matt Grothe.
Speaking of our fearless leader, it's now or never for Grothe (George Selvie and Nate Allen too). The program has had success, but not the type of success that makes a dent in the world of college football. Grothe and Canales have a nice two-game preseason and tougher-than-you-might-think-but-not-losable road game against Western Kentucky to work out the kinks before taking the trip to Tallahassee.
The defense also has a new leader as we wave a sad goodbye to fan favorite Wally Burnham and wish him luck at Iowa State. The new guy is Joe Tresey, whose ball hawking teams at Cincinnati often gave USF fits. One thing fans of USF should hope for is improved play with the cornerbacks.
Depth Chart Observations: Jamar Taylor is out for at least half the season and Mike Ford is suspended for the preseason. So expect a little bit of Mo Plancher and a lot of opportunities for freshmen Lindsey Lamar and Demetrius Murray.
Mark Popek, a redshirt freshman from Plant City, looks ready to get his first career start Saturday as Jake Sims who was out with an injury will most likely be brought along slowly the first two games.
The left defensive end position is intriguing as David Bedford will make his first start as a Bull. He will be flanked by newcomers Jason Pierre-Paul and Ryne Giddins, the latter is a true freshman.
Meanwhile the other positions on the line are USF's stable foundation as George Selvie, Terrell McClain and Aaron Harris have 75 starts between them.
The starting linebackers, Sabbath Joseph, Kion Wilson and Chris Robinson have a lot of games between them but only 12 starts. They are also USF's only linebackers with previous game experience so expect Tresey to get 7-8 bodies on the field Saturday.
This will be the first chance for fans get a look at all the newcomers that they've heard about all training camp, like true freshmen CB Kayvon Webster, RB Lindsay Lamar, WR Sterling Griffin, & LB Sam Barrington, JUCO transfers Leslie Stirrups, Jason Pierre-Paul, and Jaquian Williams, plus the'08 redshirts that will be getting their first action as Bulls. Also, QB Matt Grothe only needs 288 yards to become the Big East's career total offense leader, and it may not happen in the first game, but, it's a possibility. Wofford may not be that marquee match-up, but its opening day and they're still tickets available so come support your Bulls
USFNation Game Preview: USF/Wofford
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