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We are elated to announce the addition of former USF defensive end David Bedford to the team here at SoFloBulls.com. Bedford will be writing a weekly Q&A right here, evaluating the Bulls’ game performance and sharing his insights as part of ‘Bedford’s Bottom Line‘. Please be sure to welcome David and follow him on Twitter @OldManBeddy.
USF is coming off a 42-27 victory over AAC foe UConn last Saturday at Raymond James Stadium, which propelled the Bulls’ to a 6-1 (3-0) record in 2016. USF is now 6-1 for just the third time in program history (2007, 2008), and if the Bulls’ knock off Temple Friday night it will mark the first time in USF history a Bulls’ team reached a 7-1 start to a season.
With great excitement I bring you the first edition of the weekly Q&A below. Enjoy!
Bedford’s Bottom Line Q&A: UConn
Which members of the USF defensive line unit consistently stood out to you throughout the game Saturday against UConn?
DB: I would say Kirk Livingstone and Vincent Jackson, but not for the right reasons. They can’t keep getting washed down by the offensive tackles and letting teams get on USF’s edges. These young guys need to work on keeping their outside arm free.
As a former USF player, what goes through your head after the offense turns the ball over and your unit is forced right back out on the field?
DB: I’ve played on teams known for forcing turnovers and my attitude has always remained the same: hold the opposition to three points or less. No matter what, USF must refuse to allow the opponent to get into the end zone. This must be the Bulls’ mindset.
USF limited UConn’s rushing attack to just 72 yards, in your opinion what visible adjustments were made to the Bullshark Defense’s attack or scheme compared to last week that led to the stalwart containment of the Huskies?
DB: It all starts with keeping a solid edge. Teams cannot consistently move big Deadrin Senat and Bruce Hector out of there. As long as USF keeps contain and forces them to run into those guys the Bulls’ run defense will be solid.
USF quarterback Quinton Flowers is a gifted athlete with the rock in his hands. Coach Taggart during his post-game press conference said this about Flowers, “He’s [Flowers is] one of the top dual-threat quarterbacks in the country I believe. Some of the things he does out there are like playing a video game. It was great to not only run and throw so well, but also to be a lead blocker. That’s twice this year he’s had a nice block to help the running backs score. He’s a winner. He’ll find a way to help his football team.” As a defender, how hard is it to contain a mobile quarterback like Quinton ‘Winky’ Flowers?
DB: Quarterbacks like Quinton Flowers are really difficult to contain. If you rush too hard and get out of your lanes he kills you stepping up and through the Defensive Line. If you rush too soft you give him all day to pass the ball to his biggest play makers. Quinton is not a little guy either, so it’s hard to break him down even if you get home. The 54 yard touchdown run Flowers had against UConn reminded me of what B.J. Daniels used to do for us at USF.
USF Head Coach Willie Taggart said this during the UConn post-game press conference about the Bullshark Defense, “Talked to our guys all week long about how I’m tired of people talking about our defense. ‘We can’t stop the run and we can’t do this and that.’ We need to go out there and show them that we’re capable of doing those things. We had one bad game, really bad game, which makes it look like we can’t stop the run.”
Taggart elaborated further about the leadership of USF middle linebacker Auggie Sanchez, “He plays like a leader is supposed to. I think the thing I was more impressed with was the enthusiasm he was playing with. He was flying around, he was jumping around, having fun. When Auggie plays like that the rest of the guys respond. I think that’s what we saw out of our defense.”
How would you grade USF’s performance by group for the defensive line, linebackers, and secondary units? What stood out as positives and as negatives in the 42-27 win over UConn?
DB: When USF rushes five or more players the Bulls can be a nightmare on defense. The ‘BullSharks’ should be a ferocious, attacking defensive unit. Unfortunately, USF does not have true pass rushers like a George Selvie, Craig Marshall, or Jason Pierre-Paul on the roster anymore. Teams get too much time if USF only rushes four. Linebacker Auggie Sanchez is more effective when he is rushing the passer. Use Sanchez in that way and let the secondary handle the coverage. Defensive back Johnny Ward had a great game against UConn Saturday. If Ward keeps up the solid play USF would have a nice rotation at defensive back joining standouts Deatrick Nichols and Ronnie Hoggins.
USF must limit turnovers. When the Bulls’ play in tighter games down the stretch those can come back to haunt them. Keep Quinton Flowers out of third and 10+ and he’s masterful at running this offense. D’Ernest Johnson should be USF’s red zone running back or just keep it in Quinton Flowers’ hands; Marlon Mack must stop fumbling in the red zone. Defensively let those ‘BullSharks’ hunt! On third down USF should be rushing five or more every single time! It’s all a mindset: there is blood in the water…GO GET ‘EM BULLSHARKS!!
by Matthew Manuri
Publisher & Editor, SoFloBulls.com | @Mcknurkle
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