On Saturday the Huskies travel to Tampa to face off in a storied rivalry game against USF. To get the inside scoop on the Bulls, we talked to our friend and recent panelist on the #AmericanRising Podcast, Collin Sherwin, manager at The Daily Stampede.
You can read our Q&A with Collin here.
1. The USF offense has been explosive, to say the least, so far. What is the best way to slow down the Bulls' attack?
Prayer? Seriously, pick a deity and start sacrificing stuff.
It’s the 20th year of USF Football, and this is clearly the best offense in school history. Ninth nationally by S&P, and scoring over 42 per game. They just have too many guys at the skill positions to make plays in space. You know about Marlon Mack and Quinton Flowers, but WR’s Rodney Adams, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Ryeshene Bronson, RB2 D’Ernest Johnson, TE Elkanah Dillon… all these guys are elite athletes that can make plays with the ball. It’s a joy to watch.
The poison to pick is to make Quinton Flowers stay in the pocket and throw the ball, preferably to deep outs. He’ll still make a decent chunk of these plays, but have your safeties stay deeper-than-deepest, and try to take advantage of mistakes coming back for the ball.
But overall, WE’RE SO GOOD AND IT’S SO FUN.
2. The Bulls rank dead-last in the AAC in run defense, and second-to-last in total defense. Is this a major issue that is being covered up by the offense or are teams putting up numbers after the game is out of hand?
Oh it’s a nightmare, and our pinball-scoring offense is carrying them. FSU’s Dalvin Cook exposed the run defense for what it is, which is incapable of getting the needed penetration, combined with poor tackling and allowing blockers to create giant holes to the second level. Running outside the tackles has been the biggest key to success. Arkeel Newsome should have a big day for you.
Every team since FSU (UC & ECU) has been able to run with abandon off the edge. The Bulls have to be better, but haven’t shown they can do it yet. They’ll make a couple big plays on first down at times to force you behind the chains, and then they can get off the field. But we know Diaco loves to run the ball, and he’ll get his chances on Saturday.
3. The only loss for the Bulls came against Florida State and they haven't come close to losing besides that. Having said this, what would UConn have to do to pull off the upset?
Do what you did against UC: find a way to keep USF to field goals instead of TD’s. The Bulls are 14th in the nation with 5.68 ppp on trips inside the 40 (and haven’t run a two-point conversion all year). Conceding 3’s and not 7’s is probably your best bet. But stopping this team between the 20’s is really tough, and they can score from any yardline on the field. Playing prevent until the field shortens is usually lame, but in this case it might not be a bad strategy.
4. Before Houston lost you must have felt there was a strong possibility of USF making a New Year's Six bowl, right? How has that changed now and what is the ceiling of this season?
Still think an NYE6 bowl is very possible, but having Boise & Western Michigan lose a game or two wouldn’t hurt. The problem is the best opportunity for national recognition got squandered in our worst game of the year against the ‘Noles. And without a regular season meeting vs. Houston, we’re going to be lucky to sneak into the Top 25 with wins over Navy & Memphis.
5. What would be the most old-school USF way to lose this game to UConn?
The Bulls call a trick play in the red zone up one late in the fourth quarter that fails spectacularly. UConn intercepts, and after a 24-play, 56-yard drive, doinks a field goal in off an upright for the win.
6. What's your prediction for the game against the spread?
For gambling purposes I wouldn’t touch this game with Jim Calhoun’s unrepaid dimes. USF’s offense might be as good as Houston’s, and we saw what they did to UConn. The difference will be our defense isn’t nearly as good, so you’ll score too. The play here is going over the 52.5 total even though Diaco is practicing snapping the ball with 1 on the play clock all week. Seriously, put the mortgage on the over.
But on the -19.5 line, I’ll take USF because that’s what I’m supposed to do here though I’d put zero confidence points on it. USF has won twice this year 45-20, so I’ll take that as the score again.