Mailbag: Catching up on your USF questions
Up here in Tallahassee to cover FSU-Wake Forest for the Times and bring back a feature or two for the week leading up to FSU at USF on Sept. 29, but have time to catch up on leftover questions from Tuesday's USF chat and Thursday's in-game live blog. Obviously Thursday's loss to Rutgers brings a whole new set of questions about the Bulls, but I'll try to answer some that still seem relevant as the Bulls look to rebound next weekend at Ball State.
-- Virginia Bull asked: "Will we see more passes to the tight ends to add variety to the passing game on Thursday? Will we see more of Price? Coaches praised him a bit in the pre-season, but we have seen very little of him thus far.
The answer, of course, was very little of the tight ends again. Last year, Evan Landi and Andreas Shields combined for 40 catches; through three games, Landi has two catches for 46 yards, Shields has one for 1 yard, putting them on pace for ... 12 catches. No catches yet for Mike McFarland or Sean Price, who had generated a fair amount of excitement in August. If you'll remember, when we talked to Peter Vaas, his goal for 2012 was to have the tight ends catch every ball that comes their way -- Landi had a costly bobble at the goal line that was intercepted by Rutgers, and Shields let a kickoff land behind him for a live ball that was recovered by the Knights in the final minutes. Price had a false start in one of the few appearances he had Thursday, but we'll see if the younger tight ends can find their way into being relevant parts of the offense -- Ball State should give a low-pressure opportunity in the second half.
-- Chris asked: "How much more of D'Vario Montgomery do you think we will see now that Sterling is out?
Todd Fitch had said last week that the two players whose roles would increase most with Sterling Griffin out for the season with a knee injury would be Deonte Welch and D'Vario Montgomery. Perhaps that's a longterm response, because you didn't see that on the field Thursday -- Montgomery didn't have a pass thrown his way until the final two minutes; Welch didn't have a single pass thrown his way.
If you're wondering where Daniels' 33 pass attempts went to: Andre Davis (8 catches, 84 yards) had 14 passes thrown his way; Terrence Mitchell (3-83) had 7 and Derrick Hopkins (3-59) had five. After that, Daniels went 1-for-7 to the rest of the team, and that completion came on the last play of the game to Chris Dunkley -- Landi and Murray had two throws, each getting a hand on balls that were intercepted, and Lamar, Montgomery and Dunkley had one pass thrown his way. And no passes to Welch or Marc. Daniels' comfort level with Davis is very clear -- six of his first eight passes went in Davis' direction.
By the way, watching the replay of Daniels' first interception, the officials made a bad call. You can clearly see the ball come loose and be trapped against the ground before control is established. Thought so Thursday night and am all the more sure having watched the replay; ESPN's broadcast crew said the same thing. That essentially took a field goal off the scoreboard with USF up 6-0 early.
Will post some more video from Thursday as well. No live blog during the FSU game, so I feel like I have all this free time ...