Hmmmm, I ran this picture last year and ended up eating a lot of crow and flashing my wood working skillz because of it. Hopefully things will turn out a little different this year.
South Florida is entering their 10th year of football. That includes 1-A and 1-AA. I believe that I heard on the radio on the way to the ECU game that they are the quickest team to go from no team to ranked. Yeah, 10 years is pretty f'ing good. The Bulls are returning 16 starters from last years team. Nine on offense and seven on defense.
They are led on offense by sophomore quarterback Matt Grothe. Grothe started as a true freshman last year completing nearly 64% of his passes with 15 td's and 14 int's and 2,576 yards. He also lead the team in rushing with 622 yards and nine td's. This year he has completed 60% of his passes with four td's and no int's and 652 yards through three games. He also has 88 yards rushing and one td. He's also a hell of a bartender.
Freshman Mike Ford is leading the team in rushing with 170 yards on 33 carries and four touchdowns. Man, can that be right? A second look shows that Grothe has 38 carries this year, and Ben Williams has 30 carries for 117 yards. It hasn't been an overly impressive offense to this point. But good enough to be 3-0 I guess. As a whole, USF only has 464 yards rushing. And behind an experienced offensive line.
South Florida doesn't have any receivers that jump out at you on paper, but Grothe has completed passes to 14 different receivers. The three leading receivers for the Bulls are Taurus Johnson (13, 150, 0), Amarii Jackson (10, 128, 2), and Jessie Hester ( 10, 107, 1).
Defensively, the Bulls are lead by senior linebacker Ben Moffitt, sophomore DE George Selvie, and cornerbacks Mike Jenkins and Trae Williams. Jenkins and Williams are considered to be the best corner combo in the country. Moffitt has had a slow start statistically this year with 22 tackles, three tackles for a loss, and one interception. Well, I don't guess it's that slow. But Moffitt had 85 tackles, 9 for a loss, and 3 sacks last year. The guy you really want to keep you eye on this year is #95 George Selvie. He already has 21 tackles, 15 for a loss, and eight qb sacks. Yeah, let's get someone to block that guy!
Like West Virginia, USF is all about speed at every position. They run a ball control offense that usually doesn't turn the ball over, and they are very aggressive on defense. I'm not making any excuses about last years game, but I would have liked to have seen a little more misdirection out of the Mountaineers on offense. It seemed all day that the Bulls were sending everyone to the point of attack as soon as the ball was snapped, and West Virginia seemed more than happy to keep running right into the heart of the defense. And the one time West Virginia did do a little misdirection, it worked like a charm. But just that once.
Let's hope we try a little more of that this year.