Leavitt: Lineup changes may come on defense
PITTSBURGH -- After giving up big plays in losses to Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, USF's starting defense could be seeing personnel changes this week.
"We've been disappointed with a few guys. I'm not going to point them all out," coach Jim Leavitt said after Saturday's 41-14 loss. "The last few weeks (they've) been playing poorly. We just can't keep going like that. We've got to find some people that can do what we coach them to do, and live with it."
That could start with true freshman Kayvon Webster taking over at cornerback for senior Jerome Murphy, who has been beaten badly on deep passes the past two games. Sophomore Jerrell Young, who had six tackles Saturday in his first significant action since breaking his arm in the season opener, could step back in as a starter in place of junior walk-on Mistral Raymond.
And freshman Sam Barrington, who had five tackles off the bench against the Panthers, could be moving into a larger role at outside linebacker.
FRUSTRATION: Offensive coordinator Mike Canales said the Bulls "can't buy a break" with penalties negating big gains and missed opportunities, but the players have to make a decision about how they will respond to the recent adversity.
"We need to start leaning against each other. Our backs are against the wall a little bit," Canales said. "You say, 'Hey, who are we?' Are we going to lie down or are we going to come back and fight. I think you're going to see fighters."
Wilson said the problems on defense have been especially demoralizing -- Pittsburgh's first nine drives all went for at least 40 yards.
"Adversity is going to arise. ... You expect it to arise one or two plays in a game," Wilson said. "Now it's actually taking a toll. Adversity has hit us big-time two games in a row."
THIS AND THAT: The 24 points Pittsburgh scored in the second quarter were the most ever scored by a Bulls opponent in the second. "That second quarter was a tough quarter on us," Leavitt said. "That was the whole game." ... USF ran only 46 offensive plays, five fewer than the previous record low in 13 years of Bulls football. ... Junior backup tackle Jamar Bass has changed numbers from No. 63 to No. 86 and lined up on one play as a 6-foot-4, 290-pound tight end.