If USF football could just skip October, the team would be approaching "dynasty" status. As it is, October has placed the team in "disappointing" status for several years in a row.
It looks like October 2009 could be the worse of them all.
Cincinnati and Pittsburgh weren't just two tough losses to the best teams in the Big East, they were embarrassing blowout performances that left the USF defense exposed and ashamed. Cincinnati's backup QB gashes the Bulls defense for over 125 yards in a half and Pittsburgh gains almost 500 yards.
Offensively the team might be worse. It was a horrible effort against Pittsburgh and the team has no identity. The Bulls could be a good running team but they are still too eager to hit the big play. The thought was that Mike Canales would rein the Bulls in and put a more consistent, balanced offense on the field. The reality is he's dealing with the same struggles that the Bulls offense has had in the last five years.
West Virginia provides the Bulls with a final hope. The Big East title is probably not attainable, but making a Top 3 bowl in the Big East and getting to 10 wins is still a reachable goal. The team has been less than impressive the past few weeks but that can change with a win Friday.
The Game: West Virginia at South Florida
The Time: 8 p.m.
The TV: ESPN
The Radio: WFLA-970
The Location: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa
Weather Update: Hot.
USF Offense vs. Mike Canales: It's been tough for USF's old-new offensive coordinator. He isn't dialing up the right plays, he can't get the running game going and USF's quarterback of the future has struggled under his watch over the last few weeks. The best thing for the USF offense would be to take everything in a few notches. Stop worrying about the big play and just try to put the receivers in a position to get open. Get Daniels involved even more on designed runs. Run the ball more with the running backs. If USF can go 60-40 (or more) with the run, I think the offense will be more effective.
USF's Rush Defense vs. WVU's Skill Players: Yeah if watching Zach Collaros and Dion Lewis rip apart USF's interior run defense it's safe to say that Noel Devine and wingback Jock Sanders are slightly concerning. It's hard to say exactly what's wrong with USF's run defense but West Virginia's intricate zone blocking schemes aren't the sort of remedy this group needs. The one saving grace here is that like USF's defensive line, West Virginia's offensive line is a little undersized and won't try to overpower USF as much as they will try to counter balance the Bulls' aggressive defense with misdirection.
USF Football vs. History: If you ignore history, you're doomed to repeat it. Well the problem with USF is that they haven't ignored history and they are still repeating it. But one thing thatr's never mentioned with these October swoons is the fact that they usually snap out of them with a gutsy win that gets the season back to a respectable place. If the Bulls can pull out a win Friday it might not be pretty, but it will be very appreciated by all that support them.
Coachspeak: "We need to start leaning against each other. Our backs are against the wall a little bit. You say, 'Hey, who are we?' Are we going to lie down, or are we going to come back and fight. I think you're going to see fighters." – USF offensive coordinator Mike Canales