USF finds inspiration in Louisville's turnaround
If USF's football players, mired in a four-game losing streak, needed a reminder that a team can bounce back from a disappointing 2-4 start, they could find that inspiration on the other side of the field next week when the Bulls travel to face Louisville, now undefeated and nationally ranked, a far cry from where they were a year ago.
Louisville jumped out to a 2-4 start last season, losing to Florida International of the Sun Belt, nearly getting shut out by North Carolina and dropping fourth-quarter leads in losses to Marshall and Cincinnati. But halfway through last season, the Cardinals clicked, winning five of their next six to finish in a tie for the Big East title and earning a postseason bowl appearance.
"Louisville was in this position last year," quarterback B.J. Daniels said. "There's a lot we can still play for, a lot more we can still accomplish. Our goals, fortunately, we're still able to attain them."
The Bulls have a bye week for extra preparation for Louisville, much like Temple had a second week to prepare for the Bulls before beating them in Philadelphia on Saturday. Senior guard Danous Estenor said players have talked about Louisville's turnaround, and it's reinforced their belief that a few corrections can get USF moving in a positive direction.
"There's a lot of optimism in the locker room. Last year, Louisville started off the same way and they were able to share the Big East title," Estenor said. "It gives us a lot of hope. OK, it's been done before. It's not something out of reach. ... We're trying to take that to the next game, fix our mistakes and correct them all in the next game."
THIS AND THAT: The bye week allows younger players to get extra reps with the first-team units -- among those working with the first team at times Wednesday were linebacker Zack Bullock, walk-on safety Trevon Griffin and tackle Darrell Williams. ... Freshman linebacker Tashon Whitehurst, who missed the Temple game with a knee injury, returned to practice today, defensive coordinator Chris Cosh said. ... One positional experiment the Bulls are trying is shifting redshirt freshman C.J. Garye from safety to weakside linebacker. ... Skip Holtz's father, Lou, watched Wednesday's practice from a golf cart, observing his son's team as he occasionally does. "He's pretty feisty," Daniels said. "He has a big voice. When he speaks, you listen to him."