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Today we bring you the fourth 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 shares his thoughts on quarterback Quinton Flowers historic season, discusses Flowers savvy escape artist tactics, evaluates the Bulls’ abysmal defensive performance, and digresses about USF’s defensive atrocities. In this edition David also compares his time squaring off against USF great B.J. Daniels to facing the current dynamic dynamo under center Quinton ‘Winky’ Flowers.
USF is coming off win number eight after surviving the 49-42 shootout against Memphis. USF defensive back Deatrick Nichols shined, shutting the Tigers down on first, second, and third and goal to seal the victory for the Bulls. Unfortunately, Nichols’ play was just about the only defensive bright spot Saturday night. The Bulls’ are eyeing victory number nine Saturday in Dallas when they go head-to-head with SMU at 7 PM on CBS Sports Network.
Bedford’s Bottom Line Q&A: Memphis
Quinton Flowers had another monster game, gashing Memphis for over 200 yards and surpassing 1,000 rushing yards this season, a first in USF Football program history. How impressive is Miami-Dade made Flowers to watch?
DB: Quinton Flowers is one of the most talented players to ever suit up for USF. Flowers becoming the first player to pass for 2,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards is nothing short of insane. Not even USF greats B.J. Daniels and Matt Grothe posted those type of numbers, and in my opinion both Daniels and Grothe possessed the ability to do so. Quinton Flowers has been an absolute god-send to USF.
As a defender, how frustrating would you find the rushing success of USF quarterback Quinton ‘Winky’ Flowers? How debilitating is it to the morale of a defensive unit when the opposing signal caller tucks the ball and runs away from the defenders with ease? How do you slow down a versatile, explosive, lighting fast athlete like Q?
DB: How to slow down Quinton Flowers? Now that’s a question many defensive coordinators have tried to answer, and I truly don’t believe there is a way to stop an athlete as dynamic as Q. Trying to stop a player like Q is an absolute nightmare and the thought immediately sends me back to the days I spent trying to stop B.J. Daniels in practice.
You have to mix it up by switching the player spying the signal caller, slow rushing at times to maintain position to make a play if he tucks and runs. Defensive ends can’t get pushed past the quarterback when rushing the passer, especially when the player has rocket boosters like Q, or the running lanes will be wider than the banks of the Mississippi.
Its imperative three to four players swarm tackle because Flowers’ is going to make the first few guys miss. Quarterbacks like Q break the hearts of defenders. You finally manage to force a 3rd & long and boom, off to the races he goes for an easy first down. It crushes the spirit of the entire defensive unit.
The defensive performance was nothing short of atrocious, allowing Memphis to post 608 offensive yards. USF fans certainly found Saturday eerily similar to the defensive debacle against Temple. Can you zero in on the issues triggering the defensive unit’s failure? Specifically the non-existent rush defense? Is it a technique issue, scheme problem on the back of Raymond Woodie, or simply blown assignments and missed tackles by players?
DB: USF is simply a bad defensive team and it’s a combination of numerous failures. Defensive backs allowing wide receivers to run directly passed them in coverage. Technique issues, players being inside when they should be outside or vice versa, and Coach Woodie’s inability to make adjustments to both the rush and pass defensive schemes.
While the Memphis tailbacks weren’t busy breaking two to three arm tackles and turning them into long runs, they casually coasted untouched for long uncontested touchdown jaunts. To reiterate my constant view, until the USF defensive line wins the battle upfront Bullshark defense will continue to look atrocious. Both rush and pass defense are anchored by the defensive line. Memphis gashed USF up the middle and outside, with the defensive line nowhere in sight. I’m old-school, and I was taught one way. If the USF defensive line play doesn’t improve the Bulls will continue getting annihilated every single game.
What are your thoughts immediately come to mind after re-watching the plays on the below short video from the Saturday barn burner between Memphis and USF:
DB: I watched a Memphis team Saturday night that clearly knew the USF defense could not stop them. The Tigers took whatever they wanted whenever they wanted it. I spent the entire game hoping USF would end up with the final possession, because whoever did was bound to win the game. USF mustered a final defensive stand when the Tigers opted to test USF’s shut down defensive back Deatrick Nichols on first, second, and third and goal. That was not the smartest choice, but as a USF fan I’m certainly not mad they did.
The USF defense should be ashamed of themselves. The defense let their teammates on the other side of the ball down big time Saturday night. I simply cannot imagine any player on the USF defense looking Q, and the rest of the explosive offensive squad square in the eyes after yet another embarrassing performance.
Q is the heart and soul of this USF team. The ‘Gulf Coast Offense’ rolls with Flowers flow. I have never been more proud to call any player my quarterback. Historically the USF Bulls have been known as a stout, stalwart defense first team. But, we all know that’s not the case anymore. USF must improve defensively, somehow some way. The only option is up for the downtrodden side of the ball. Down, but certainly not out. Go Bulls!! #BeatSMU #SoFloBulls #BedfordsBottomLine
by Matthew Manuri
Publisher & Editor, SoFloBulls.com | @Mcknurkle
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