Matt and the gang do a great job over at The Bull Rush Blog. Just the crew to answer questions that Noles want to know about what's up with USF.
Has B.J. Daniels regressed since his amazing freshman year, or is the problem the supporting cast around him?
A: Daniels is kind of an enigma for USF fans. He is a young man with a strong arm, quick feet, but after having probably his best statistical season last year (in terms of completion percentage, turnovers), he is still making the same mistakes this season. Daniels is not comfortable sitting back in the pocket and is better suited rolling out and using his feet, something Coach Holtz and offensive coordinator Todd Fitch are not accustomed to and have really failed to adjust their playcalling at times to deal with Daniels. Daniels is still putting up big numbers, with his arm and his leg, but his decision making and ability to try to do too much hurt the team. If FSU is able to pressure him and force him to quick throws, it could be a bad day for him if he doesn’t find his targets down the field.
After an impressive road win at Nevada, USF had letdowns against Rutgers and Ball State. What happened?
A: Where do we start? The Rutgers game was sort of a microcosm of USF football. Sloppy play, inability to excute on offense, turnovers, failing to get off the field on third down, bad coaching, and the curse of playing Big East games on ESPN on a Thursday night (now 0-8 all time there). The game against Ball State continued these trends and the answers don’t seem to be very easy for the team. Offensive line is not protecting Daniels, running game is not going and the defense is simply not getting off the field on third down. All of these issues have happened the last two weeks and it’s going to take a lot for the coaching staff to get it corrected.
The Bulls D ranks in the middle of the pack in Total Defense (#64), ahead of Tennessee, West Virginia and Auburn. After seeing FSU against Clemson, how do you think USF will scheme to stop the Noles offense?
Do you think Skip Holtz and his staff are having trouble motivating the team or do you believe there's a morale problem?
A: I don’t think the issue is motivation at this stage, it’s the entire philosophy they have and the failure to make adjustments in crunch time. Holtz by definition is a very laid back coach, unlike former head coach Jim Leavitt who wasn’t afraid to scream and yell. Holtz is very up-beat, sees everything glass half full, but there has to be adjustments and some urgency and we aren’t seeing it out of any of the staff. The players are motivated and do work very hard, but the bad coaching and lack of adjustment or urgency is putting them in bad positions. Holtz is saying all the right things about adjusting and getting the team prepared, but we have yet to see it happen on the field with this staff.
How much do you think USF will play like a different team Saturday because of the in-state opponent and a chance to knock off a member of the top five?
A: This is the game everyone has been circling on the calendar since the start of the season. Players have been talking about, fans are prepared for it, and the entire Tampa area is ready for the game. While losing two straight games has taken the energy out of the USF fan base a bit, it is still expected to be a turn out. Any time ESPN, a huge team like FSU (highest ranked opponent we have ever played in Raymond James Stadium), it will have the student and alumni excited and ready. It should be a great game, just hoping the Bulls show up to it.