Today we bring you the third edition of ‘Bedford’s Bottom Line’ with our favorite former USF defensive end and SoFloBulls.com contributor David Bedford. In this week’s Q&A David evaluates the Bulls’ performance, and second half fade against No. 22 Navy. In this edition David shares his insights from his own experiences to evaluate the ‘Bullshark’ defensive performance against the elusive Midshipmen.
USF is coming off a win over a ranked opponent, the second consecutive season the Bulls have done so, after downing No.22 Navy 52-45 two weeks ago at Raymond James Stadium. The Bulls’ fell to 6-2 (3-1) on the year following the defensive abomination three weeks ago against Temple… but let’s not discuss that one and focus on the Bulls’ eyeing the eighth victory in 2016 when USF travels to Memphis for the 7 PM showdown on ESPNU.
With far more enthusiasm than three weeks ago and without further delay, I bring you the third edition of ‘Bedford’s Bottom Line’ Q&A. Enjoy the dialogue and be sure to follow David on Twitter, like right meow! @OldManBeddy #BeatMemphis #USFvsMEM
Bedford’s Bottom Line Q&A: No. 22 Navy
The Bulls played with incredible responsibility and discipline in the first half against Navy and the Bulls were able to stymie the Midshipmen’s explosive triple option attack. As a former player, how challenging is it to stay in your lane and avoid over pursuing an opponent when your eyes tell you to hawk down the player right in front of you?
DB: Avoiding the natural instinct to go after the play that “seems” like its right in front of you can certainly can be a tall task. During my time as a USF player I never faced an offensive scheme like Navy’s triple-option, but I do recall squaring off against opponents similar like a Pat White at West Virginia. WVU’s zone read offense all boiled down to owning YOUR assignment and NOT trying to step in for your teammates. The very second you fell into the over pursuit trap trying to make a play for a teammate, you blew your assignment and created a gaping hole in the defense.
Which player(s) stood out to you in the first half against Navy amongst the Bulls’ front seven?
DB: I was extremely proud of the USF defensive ends. From the very first drive the defensive ends, especially Kirk Livingstone and Kevin Bronson, put their stamp on the game. The first stop on fourth down never would have been possible if the USF defensive ends weren’t bringing the heat and doing their jobs. The defensive line as a unit stood out as well. The USF defensive line owned the trenches in the first half. Navy is a team that prides itself on winning the line of scrimmage, but USF’s defensive line unit punched the Midshipmen’s challenge in square in the mouth throughout the first half of that game.
In the 2nd half Navy seemed to have the upper hand against the Bulls’ defense, successfully pounding the rock, but also surprisingly through the air. What caused the momentum to swing? Did Navy dial up at the half after figuring out the Bulls’ defensive scheme, or did the second string subs cause the defensive cliff dive?
DB: The shift to the Midshipmen was a blend of several factors. Navy certainly found some success in the second half, but mainly it was the Bulls’ falling victim to human nature. USF came out red hot in the first half, holding a monstrous 42-14 lead at the break, and then naturally eased off the gas a bit. You shouldn’t ever back of the pedal, but as a formal player I know it’s much easier said than done.
Overall, what feeling were you left with in your gut following the game? USF posted video game-like, program record busting numbers, but also allowed the game to get too close down the stretch.
DB: I left the contest feeling extremely proud of how the Bulls dominated both lines of scrimmage. From the start of the game the Bulls’ ‘Gulf Coast Offense’ and ‘Bullshark’ defense made sure Navy knew USF arrived to Raymond James to win. However, USF must find a way to closeout games in stronger fashion. Once you have a team down, keep them there. The great USF teams of the past made always closed the door on the opponent for good. We won the space battle and Quinton Flowers was absolutely amazing, despite dealing with an injury. But, the USF offensive line was the biggest factor and the game changer the Bulls needed. Navy bolsters a nationally recognized rushing attack, but USF’s big boys let the NCAA know the Bulls can pound the rock with the best of them.
📌 Bedford’s Bottom Line:
DB: I’m very proud of the way my Bulls bounced back after the embarrassing performance last Friday against Temple. Winning the line of scrimmage is always the key when facing a team like Navy, and the Bulls did just that in the first half. But, USF must finish teams off in the second half. Show no mercy! Don’t let them have even a glimmer of hope or they will find a way to get back in the game. I truly want to see the defensive line put together a back to back performance against Memphis just like they did against No. 22 Navy. Be disciplined, keep contain, and dominate the line of scrimmage. USF has the guys who can do it! Go Bulls!!