Holtz: Special teams were 'horrocious' vs. Rutgers
TAMPA -- After watching video of Saturday's 20-17 overtime loss at Rutgers, USF coach Skip Holtz saw so much wrong with the Bulls' special-teams play that he made up a new word to describe how bad it was.
"The biggest thing that shows up going back watching that film, our special teams were horrocious," said Holtz, perhaps lost somewhere between horrendous and atrocious. "They were awful. They were bad. When you play that well as an offense and that well as a defense, you're not supposed to lose a game like that, or even to be in overtime. Our special teams was a difference of 16 points in that game in four plays."
(Here's the full video on Holtz; "horrocious" is at the 1:10 mark)
For the 16 points, Holtz is pointing to a 98-yard kickoff return by Rutgers' Jeremy Deering, a Leto grad; a muffed punt return by Victor Marc inside USF's 15 that resulted in a Rutgers field goal; and two missed field goals by Maikon Bonani, including a potential game-winner as time expired.
"When you take the last play to center the ball to make it easy for your kicker from the 10-yard line, you think that's a layup," Holtz said. "Nobody feels worse than Maikon does. I know he's trying to shoulder a lot of this blame and there's a lot to go around. I told him I don't think he lost the game, but he had an opportunity to win it and didn't make the most of it."
Holtz said Bonani's hold on the kicking job is secure, but said he will open up his punting job this week after seeing punter Justin Brockhaus-Kann averaged 32.9 yards on nine punts, including a 15-yard and 26-yard punt in the second half, hurting the Bulls in field position. Redshirt freshman Chris Veron, who competed for the job in preseason, will get a look this week.
"That was one of the major woes of this game," Holtz said. "When you chart, we averaged 30 yards in the air, and they were 42-point-something. At 10 punts, that's 100 yards, the 100 yards our offense outgained (theirs). There's no doubt right now, we are not punting the ball nor kicking the ball at the level we need to do it in order to be successful right now. ... From a punting note, I definitely have to open the door with that. Everybody has to be held accountable."
THIS AND THAT: Running back Darrell Scott didn't play the final 10 minutes due to a wrist injury, and Holtz said he was suffering headaches Sunday, as was backup running back Marcus Shaw. ... Quarterback B.J. Daniels hurt his left (non-throwing) thumb on the final offensive play of regulation, but Holtz said he'll be fine for Syracuse on Friday. ... Special-teams ace Armando Sanchez and backup defensive tackle Luke Sager are limited by ankle injuries, but neither is out for Syracuse yet.