USF offense motivated by '09 Rutgers shutout
Here are Sunday's practice notes from Times correspondent Kerry Klecic ...
TAMPA -- If USF is looking for ways to attack the Rutgers defense, it likely won’t look to last season’s performance, when the Bulls had arguably their worst offensive output in program history.
In a 31-0 victory, the Scarlet Knights held USF to 159 yards and forced three first-half turnovers out of quarterback B.J. Daniels. The sophomore said Sunday night that he’s gotten over the memories from last year, but it was still beneficial to go through it as a young quarterback.
“That was probably one of the biggest games that I probably played and hit the wall,” he said. “As a freshman, I learned a lot from that game. It’s definitely helped me out a lot now … but it’s in the past.”
As much as USF’s coaching staff has talked about Daniels’ inexperience this season, he has more starts than any other current quarterback in the Big East with 17 — a statistic that surprised coach Skip Holtz, who’s hoping Daniels continues to play well on the heels of scoring four touchdowns in an impressive win at Cincinnati on Oct. 22.
“When you look at it, he’s just a sophomore,” Holtz said Sunday night. “He’s got two years left. What we keep talking about is how exciting it will be when he really starts to learn how to use all the gadgets in the offense.”
Offensive coordinator Todd Fitch said Rutgers did a good job last year of moving defenders around to make Daniels uncomfortable. He said, however, the performance against Cincinnati has made a noticeable difference in how Daniels practiced during the bye week.
“I think there’s a little pep in his step, especially the first couple days after the game,” he said. “When we came back to work after the Cincinnati game, he was obviously more upbeat, more positive about himself because a guy like that who is a great competitor has a lot of pride to play well.”
-- Without sack leader Craig Marshall, out with a broken bone in his foot, USF senior defensive end David Bedford said the Bulls need to step up and perform at a high level against Rutgers, which ranks at the bottom of Division I-A football with 33 sacks allowed.
“(Marshall) has always been about making plays, and his production is going to be missed,” he said. “We’re going to miss Craig out there because he has the most experience, more than me as far as playing time, so we definitely need to step it up.”
This and That: Holtz said he’s never coached a game on a Wednesday night ... A win against Rutgers would move USF (1-2 in Big East) out of a log jam with Louisville, West Virginia, UConn and Cincinnati at the bottom of the conference standings. Rutgers is in sole possession of third place with a 1-1 record.