Not only is South Florida a very different team at home, but head coach Skip Holtz will make sure that it plays with a sense of urgency on Saturday. Both teams want this game, but the Bulls need it. They’ll rebound from their last two defeats behind a solid effort from the defense and Daniels. The quarterback won’t light it up through the air, but will have considerable success when he tucks the ball and takes off. In a matchup of relative equals, this will be a competitive contest that doesn’t get decided until late in the final quarter.
Get Off to a Fast Start: Cincinnati, for all the hype of a high powered offense, has taken the first two quarters of games to get the team going. This is another tough defense for the Bearcats to face but they will be in good shape if the offense can put up at least 2 touchdowns in the first half. The Bulls don’t have the explosiveness to play catchup and if they are playing from behind might cause B.J. Daniels to force some mistakes.
Don't get beat deep. I think everyone but Austin Peay has broken a big pass against the Bearcats. Louisville did, Miami did a couple times, as did NC State and Tennessee. Fortunately, UC was able to dodge bullets against Miami, force a Louisville FG and be a lot of points ahead of NC State. Tennessee exploited the secondary. USF is the best team UC has played since them. Now that everyone on Tennessee has gotten hurt and they are something like 96 point underdogs to Alabama, that loss doesn't look that great anymore. Anyway, the Bulls can put the ball up. They have a receiver who will go get it. Gotta keep coverage.
As far as I am concerned this is the key to the game. I think the defensive line and the Bulls running game more or less cancel out. So the imperative for UC is to prevent the Bulls passing game from getting big chunks of yardage in the passing game.
Linebackers Mike Lanaris and DeDe Lattimore lead the Bulls with 47 and 40 tackles respectively, but thirteen different defenders have contributed to their 22 sacks in only six games (tied for 6th in the country), and this crew has an even more impressive 55 tackles for loss (2nd in the country). These two areas combine to give USF’s opponents 345 negative yards for the year (57.5 negative yards a game). Although this statistic isn’t commonly kept, only Rutgers’ defense has generated more negative yardage this year.
Collaros is a big time dual-threat quarterback that torched USF the last time he played in Tampa. Lanaris is the leading tackler for the Bulls and will be in charge of keeping an eye on him from the middle of the box. If Collaros escapes the pocket and uses his legs, Lanaris and the other linebackers have to take him down fast.
I guarantee that Collaros does not have his name underlined three times and circled twice on the white board in the Bulls locker room. At this point Isaiah Pead is the key to this offense, not Zach Collaros.
Zach Collaros has many options for outlets, and the good running of Isaiah Pead allows the passing game to open up quite a bit more. Collaros's leading receiver in all categories is sophomore Anthony McClung, who 25 catches for an average of 13 yards per catch, and three touchdowns. On the other side of the field is Cincy's veteran senior D.J. Woods, who is just behind McClung with 23 catches for 284 yards and two touchdowns. What makes Cincinnati's pass offense particularly difficult to defend is that they have one more star receiver in Junior Kembrell Tompkins. The trio of receivers will stretch out the USF secondary along the length of the field, making it a particularly long day for Quenton Washington and Kayvon Webster.
UC's guys out wide don't have to make every play a monster. Simply cutting out the drops and brain farts should do the trick.
A-T-T-A-C-K. On both sides of the ball. USF had a classic play-not-to-lose philosophy going last week, and they lost anyway. Instead of allowing the linebackers to get blocked at the second level, see if you can flood the running lanes with blitzes. Keep the offensive tempo cranked up. Throw the ball past the first-down marker because the only competent offense Cincinnati has played all year was Tennessee before Tyler Bray got hurt, and he absolutely lit them up. I have a sneaking feeling the Bearcats' defense is not as good as their stats because of their weak schedule. I'd like to see the Bulls offense go out there and test it thoroughly. Besides, they did it last year, back when B.J. Daniels was in such a funk that he couldn't even find guys running wide open down the field.
The point about the defense is well taken. But B.J. Daniels doesn't have anything approximating Tyler Bray's skill set, nor do the Bulls have a receiver as good as Justin Hunter and Da'Rick Rogers. If B.J. Daniels beats anyone throwing 41 times you say well done and move on.
Ask Victor Marc what he considers his natural position on a football field and, almost out of habit, there is a pause. "I'm not even sure," he says. "Just an athlete."
USF has a couple of those kind of guys. Marc is one, Lindsey Lamar is the other
"We never get votes," said wide receiver D.J. Woods. "People always overlook us. We just need to focus on the Big East. We’ve got bigger and better things to worry about than being ranked in the national polls. We just want to win the Big East and get to a BCS bowl game."
A classic passive aggressive pessimism play from Bill Koch here. I would expect nothing less from the lazy shitbag