TAMPA, Fl. – All offseason long USF Football has been convincing itself and Bulls Nation that the adversity from the end of 2018 would help them grow (physically, mentally, spiritually) in 2019.
- USF plays Georgia Tech in Atlanta at 2pm ET on Saturday
- The game is on the ACC Network - Spectrum Ch. 99 and HD 1205
- USF is on a seven-game losing streak dating back to last October
But adversity doesn’t build character – adversity reveals character.
USF is showing its character this week in the fact of a humiliating 49-0 loss at home one week ago against Wisconsin. Coach and players are all saying that this team will not fall apart and that one loss won’t break an offseason of coming together as a family on and off the field.
USF fans hope every word spoken is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
Is this heaven? No, it’s the end zone
USF Football has not scored a touchdown since the third quarter of the Gasparilla Bowl last December.
Offensive coordinator Kerwin Bell said all the failures of the shutout loss are on him. USF Fans have called it “refreshing” to have a coordinator who takes responsibility for lack of success. Bell also admitted that not having slot receiver, running back Johnny Ford (coach’s decision) was a big missing piece of their puzzle. One problem is that Ford practiced pretty much all the way until game day. If you’re not going to use him then why not let other players get reps? Maybe more reps mean no dropped passes in key situations early in the game. But that is over and done with and Ford is back ready to go.
Head coach Charlie Strong knows the offense has to incorporate tight end Mitchell Wilcox and running back Jordan Cronkrite more this Saturday. Wilcox, who is being lauded as one of the top tight ends in the 2020 draft class, had one catch for eleven yards and was targeted only a couple of times. Best tight end in program history…and you can’t get him the ball? Cronkrite had three catches but only had nine rushing yards.
The offensive line is a problem for USF. It is suspect at best. There is plenty of behind-the-scenes frustration with this unit. USF had nine penalties last Friday – many of those on offense due to procedural matters. USF just needs to give Barnett a little time to get rid of the ball. Hopefully with a suspect Yellow Jackets defense the Bulls can take advantage of some quick passing and scheming.
I watched the Clemson-Tech game. I am not about to compare USF to Clemson. But I am about to compare two players’ abilities. Clemson running back Travis Etienne (5’10” 200lbs.) took a (very) delayed handoff from his own ten-yard line and ran it all the way to the end zone. Johnny Ford (5’5” 180lbs) can do that too. On that play the delay allowed for Clemson’s offensive line to push and get to the second level and then find their defensive players to block. Etienne’s speed did the rest. Ford could do that. Heck, Cronkrite could do that as well.
Georgia Tech’s defense is the better unit for the Yellow Jackets. Its secondary is solid. Bell likes to throw to set up the run. If they can keep Tech on their heels then the run game will open up for big plays for the Bulls.
In Their Defense
I know Jonathan Taylor rushed for 135 yards and had four total touchdowns (including his first two career receiving TDs) but the USF defense came out hungry and aggressive. No Wisconsin receiver had more than four receptions, which means they were balanced in their approach while also spreading the ball out to all receiving options.
Wisconsin had 433 yards of offense. There is no denying USF needs to improve fast, especially when it comes to tackling and reading out a play. But there were times when USF had flashes of being able to stop the run and get off the field.
Georgia Tech is in a weird situation because it still has the triple option talent in a spread offense that came in with new head coach Geoff Collins. This is the big transition year for the Yellow Jackets. They have the talent and the speed to beat you. And they can use different quarterbacks to accomplish either style of play. USF will need to stay on its toes and read out each play. Their QBs love to roll out and create. Their athleticism will help alleviate pressure from the USF defense.
I predict USF will score a touchdown. I predict they will score a good number of times. I think Georgia Tech is looking forward to this game just as much as USF. Both were embarrassed last week.
Tech is at home. They will find ways to score. They will make USF’s defense look bad at times.
BUT…I think if USF could find a way to win 49-38 last year…they can find a way Saturday afternoon in Atlanta.
Here you go, Bulls fans:
Georgia Tech 26