Extra rest for Bulls' injuries before Louisville
TAMPA -- Having beaten Rutgers on Wednesday night, USF has three more days of preparation than Louisville will have when the two teams meet on Nov. 13, and that extra time will help several minor injuries sustained by key offensive players in Wednesday's win.
Quarterback B.J. Daniels, who aggravated a case of turf toe against Rutgers, was wearing a protective boot on his right foot Thursday, and left tackle Jamar Bass, who missed much of the game with an ankle injury, was in a boot as well. But coach Skip Holtz said he expects both -- as well as running backs Mo Plancher and Demetris Murray, both slowed by knee injuries, to be ready to play against the Cardinals.
"From talking with our trainer, all of them are going to be evaluated as they go," Holtz said. "None of them are surgical injuries, none of them are longterm type injuries. Every one of them has the probability of playing this week. We'll have a much better evaluation Sunday after they've had a couple of days to treat it and rest it and see where it is. A lot of the boots are precautionary, to help with the rehab, to stabilize them. ... (Trainer Steve Walz) feels pretty good that every one of them has a chance to play next week."
Daniels, who threw touchdown passes to Evan Landi and Dontavia Bogan, said he fully expects to play against the Cardinals.
"It's all right," he said. "Of course, I'm going to be sore after a game. I'm just protecting it, letting it rest. I'm not going to miss any games."
RARE COMEBACK: Wednesday marked USF's first fourth-quarter comeback in more than three years, since the Bulls rallied to beat Auburn in overtime in September 2007. Since joining the Big East in 2005, the Bulls' only other victory where they over came a fourth-quarter deficit was in 2006 against Florida International.
"I think it shows a lot of B.J.'s development," Holtz said of his first such comeback. "It shows how far he's come in a couple of weeks. He's playing with great confidence right now. He's at the line, making checks. He's like a totally different quarterback than a couple of weeks ago, who was timid. Not physically timid, but mentally and emotionally timid, not comfortable in the pocket. All the sudden, it's like the game has slowed down for him. He's making reads, he's making throws."
YEAR OF FIRSTS: Wednesday was USF's 100th all-time win, but also a long-awaited USF win against Rutgers after four straight losses, just as the case was when the Bulls won at Cincinnati two weeks ago. Now the Bulls will try to win at Louisville for the first time, and Holtz has noticed the large amount of unprecedented things his team is doing.
"Seems like in a young program there are a lot of firsts," Holtz said. "Seems like every game you're playing, it's 'This would be the first time this, the first time that. It'll be a great challenge for us."
HATS OFF: Rutgers took a 24-17 lead in the third quarter on a drive in which the Bulls were flagged for two 15-yard penalties, and Holtz seemed to take greater exception with the second, which was called when defensive tackle Terrell McClain took his helmet off after a play.
"We had one ... Terrell McClain's helmet got pushed up," Holtz said. "He said his chin strap was kind of over his eyes. He had to take his helmet off to take his chinstrap off to put it back on. In college football, if you take your helmet off, it's a penalty. It's one of those things where you're like 'Tell me that's not going to play a decision in the outcome of this game, fixing his chinstrap."
THIS AND THAT: USF had a guest defensive back on the final play of the game as Rutgers took a final shot to score from 70 yards away -- receiver T.J. Knowles stepped in at safety. "We put T.J. back there, and I knew it was under control after that," Plancher said. ... Three of Daniels' completions were simply option pitches forward to Plancher, but he doesn't mind getting statistical credit for it. "It credits to my passing stats, but we still treat it like a running play," Daniels said. "He did a good job finding the holes and making people miss."