The South Florida Bulls triumphantly opened the 2012 campaign with a 34-13 Win against the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga Saturday. BJ’s three passing TDs to Derrick Hopkins, Terrance Mitchell & Sterling Griffin excited everyone, including me. These were glimpses of greatness, but…
The running game followed the same trend as 2011 & struggled all night against a less-than ‘stout’ Mocs defense. The lack of consistency at RB will continue to allow defenses to key on Daniels & the passing game, a topic that causes Bull’s fans to cringe at this all too familiar issue. Demetrius Murray lead the RB’s with 16 carries for 55 (3.4 yds/carry) yards followed by Marcus Shaw with 4 carries for 22 yards (5.5 yds/carry). Notably, Lindsey Lamar will be redshirting 2012 to learn the intricacies of the playbook according to Coach Holtz.
The real issue: Offensive Line. The one word I would use to describe the overall performance of the O-Line Saturday: “Inconsistent”. Not to knock the Mocs, but their D-Line is not known to cause pre-game tremors. Consider time of possession: Mocs 34:19 & Bulls 25:41.The Bull’s Defense always seems to suffer the lashings of the inconsistent Offense. Chattanooga only had to go 7 yards on their first two scoring drives combined. Fitch’s gamble on the ‘Wildcat’ formation led to the Daniels fumble & turnover on the Bulls 25 yard line. Then Daniels floated a seam pass intended for Evan Landi, which was picked-off. Once again the Bulls D was back on the field; the same D that held the Mocs to zero first downs & negative offensive yardage until the 2nd quarter. Fans have to hope Quinterrius Eatmon returns over Damien Edwards on the O-Line & for a cohesive offensive showcase this week against Nevada.
Ryne Giddins ended the game with 1.5 sacks & 1.5 TFL earning a ‘Big East Helmet Sticker: Week 1’. DeDe Lattimore posted 10 tackles, 2.5 TFL & 0.5 sacks earning a spot on the ‘Big East Player of the Week Honor Roll’. The Defense’s performance earned a blue-collar ‘Hats Off’ & the Offense better be showing them serious gratitude. Will the Bulls cleanup these items during this week’s practices & film study sessions? And do these concerns reflect the emotions of fans? Or do some of you have other concerns? Sunday all will know if this is finally South Florida’s big year.
by Matthew Manuri
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