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Skid at five games, Bulls turn focus to Syracuse



TAMPA -- USF coach Skip Holtz said his team's string of close losses only get harder as they continue, but the Bulls' best remedy is returning to practice as they did Sunday night, hoping to right their ship back home Saturday against Syracuse.


"It's hard to come out here when you just lost a game like we did (Saturday)," Holtz said. "You see a huge difference between the beginning of practice and the end, with their atttitude. I think it's kind of medication to get out there, get around each other and get moving again. It's hard to go through what we're going through right now, but we talked about perseverance and what we need to do to continue to improve and get better."

Holtz said the game was close enough in so many areas -- a two-point margin, 2 yards separating the offenses, matching turnovers until the game's final play -- that everyone on the team can recognize that a single change on one play can add up to a different result.

"This is a 'We' effort. Nobody's finger-pointing or blaming him," Holtz said. "Everybody has to take some responsibility and blame. Every position, every coordinator, every position coach and me as a head coach can all take some responsibility, that if we would have changed a couple of things in this game, the outcome would have been different. If everybody takes an approach like that, we can get a little bit better, then it's going to make us better for the game."

INJURY UPDATE: Senior left guard Mark Popek is wearing a cast on his badly sprained left ankle and is "very doubtful" for Syracuse, Holtz said, with redshirt freshman Brynjar Gudmundsson likely to step in as the did for the remainder of Saturday's game. It's not yet known how long Popek will be sidelined.

"I thought Brynjar really did an admirable job," Holtz said. "He had a bust on the final drive that created some pressure on B.J. (Daniels), but outside of that, I thought for a freshman who has played very little to step in and do what he do, I really thought he did a nice job. He stepped in and played invisible for most of the game, which for an offensive lineman is a good thing."

Holtz said RB Demetris Murray (ankle) and DE Tevin Mims (groin) have minor injuries but should be able to recover fine for Saturday's game.

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