South Florida 101
The South Florida Bulls last year finished 4-8 and cleaned their coaching staff house. Gone is Charlie Strong, in is Clemson offensive co-coordinator Jeff Scot. Charlie Weis, Jr. is the new offensive coordinator at the age of 27 and Glenn Spencer, who comes in from Oklahoma State takes over the defense.
USF opened last week with a 27-6 win over the Citadel, and for at least three reasons it is difficult to learn a lot from their opener. First of all, Citadel runs a triple option so the defensive looks the Irish staff saw were unconventional. Additionally, three of USF’s starting linemen did not play for health reason but should be back this week and finally, two Quarterbacks split time for the Bulls in the game.
One of those Quarterbacks is Sophomore Jordan McCloud who looks to be the passer, he was 11-16 on the day for 68 yards and a 1 TD, and he saw significant action as a Freshman. Senior Noah Johnson, who wears #0, is a Grad transfer from Alcorn State also made a splash, he was 3 of 4 passing and ran the ball 7 times for 49 yards and a touchdown.
If healthy the Bulls return 3 of 5 starters on the offensive line from last year, that line however was 126th in the nation in sacks against them and 114th in tackles for loss given up.
Sophomore Kelly Joiner led the running attack last week with 87 yards on just 8 carries and had a touchdown. Also look for 5-foot 5, 172-pound, Sophomore, Johnny Ford to get involved. He wears #1 and against Citadel, had 71 yards on 9 carries.
Top threats to catch the football will be Juniors Bryce Miller and Randall St. Felix who are back after combining last season for 43 catches for 493 yards and six touchdowns. Against Citadel 11 different players caught passes.
On defense last week the Bulls boasted some good safety play out of Mekhi LaPointe. Two other players to keep an eye on are Junior Linebackers Dwayne Boyles and Antonio Grier. Boyles led the team in tackles a year ago and Grier led them in tackles last week. Overall 7 starters return on this unit that a year ago gave up just shy of 400 yards per game.
Charlie Weis Jr. is known for his hyper tempo offense where he runs plays every 18 seconds and substitutes constantly to keep his players fresh, and you know coming back to Notre Dame means something extra to him and his family. Other than that, with an all new coaching staff, an unsettled quarterback situation and the first game having been against a triple option team, there are a lot of unknowns. But, the key numbers that favor the Irish would seem to be the 4-8 the Bulls a year ago, and the 20 points by which the Irish are favored in Vegas, because other than that, there is not a lot of solid evidence by which to judge South Florida.