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Can ex-Bull Bresnahan help UCF?

USF sophomore cornerback Deatrick Nichols (3) had two interceptions against Cincinnati, returning one for a touchdown.


USF sophomore cornerback Deatrick Nichols (3) had two interceptions against Cincinnati, returning one for a touchdown.



One of the less conspicuous story lines emanating from this week's USF-UCF contest may or may not evolve into one of the more significant.

If the Knights possess any noticeable edge, it might be first-year defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan's insight into the Bulls personnel. Bresnahan spent the previous two years in the same job on Willie Taggart's staff before being dismissed last December.

And while the Bulls have changed virtually everything in terms of scheme and signals since Bresnahan's departure, he still knows many of USF's starters. No matter, Taggart said.

"Everything's different from when (Bresnahan) was here, other than some of the guys. And even those guys are different now," Taggart said following Sunday evening's practice. "They've grown up and they've gotten better and have a better understanding of what's going on in college football now."

Bresnahan's unit, by the way, ranks 115th nationally (464.9 ypg). His 2014 Bulls unit, which converted to the 3-4 from a four-man front, also allowed more than 400 yards a game (402.8).

His first USF unit, however, ranked 30th nationally.

"They're having not the best season out there so far, but when we played (UCF) a few years ago (2013) when they went to the Fiesta Bowl, we gave 'em a really good game and we were terrible," Bulls MLB Auggie Sanchez said. "So Coach Bresnahan, he's a great coach. He's gonna do some things to us that we probably haven't seen all year."

NICHOLS HONORED: Sophomore CB Deatrick Nichols, who had a career night (two interceptions including a pick-six, eight tackles) in Friday's 65-27 rout of Cincinnati, was named American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Week on Sunday by College Sports Madness. Nichols is a favorite to get the same honor from the league Monday.

"Deatrick's grown up this year and he's had to grow up. We needed him to play big at corner this year and that's what he's doing," Sanchez said. "That game honestly was like an NCAA Football (video) game. It was good for him and hopefully we'll keep getting those type of games out of him."

BULLS GET 2 COMMITS: Hinds (Miss.) Community College strong-side defensive ends LaDarrius Jackson and Frank Johnson have committed to USF, 247Sports' Josh Newberg reported Sunday. Jackson is considered a three-star prospect by the website; Johnson isn't ranked.

Three of the top four ends on USF's current depth chart -- Eric Lee, Zack Bullock and Shawn Hill -- are seniors.

ODDS AND ENDS: The Bulls received one 25th-place vote in this week's AP poll, from South Carolina beat writer Josh Kendall of The State newspaper in Columbia. The Tampa Bay Times' ballot can be seen here. ... Thursday's contest will be USF's third in 13 days. ... Sophomore QB Quinton Flowers, 24-for-37 with six TDs and two interceptions in his last two games, now ranks 25th in Division I-A in pass efficiency (149.6). ... As a result of its annihilation of Cincinnati, USF jumped 12 spots nationally -- from 62nd to 50th -- in scoring offense (32.5 ppg). ... The Bulls had seven more tackles for loss Friday and now rank 11th nationally (7.7 per game).

AUDIBLE: "You feel it in the building when you walk in and it's just different -- in a good way. Right now the bay is hot with the Bulls and the Bucs. The bay is hot." -- Taggart, whose team has won six of its last seven

[Last modified: Sunday, November 22, 2015 11:01pm]


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