USF's Daniels showed strength on goal-line escape
TAMPA -- Lost in the blur of a 70-point explosion Saturday against Florida A&M and a Big East record 745 yards of total offense was a play that showed another way USF quarterback B.J. Daniels has improved this fall: He's physically stronger.
Leading 35-14 and backed up on his 12-yard line, Daniels dropped back to pass, only to find a blitzing Florida A&M defensive back coming at him unblocked. In one move, Daniels grabbed the blitzer with his left hand and threw him down into the end zone, promptly dodged another diving Rattlers defender, scrambled to his left and calmly fired a pass to receiver Sterling Griffin for an 18-yard gain, even as another defender came flying at him.
"It was a pure play of strength," quarterback coach Peter Vaas said Sunday, having used the play in a film session as an opportunity to teach his younger quarterbacks the value of extra time with the strength and conditioning staff. "That strength comes through hard work in the weight room. It has a direct effect in the game. It's more than just showing up for the game. It's the preparation that goes into it, through hard work bright and early in the morning."
Two plays later, Daniels hit running back Darrell Scott for an 84-yard touchdown pass, a big chunk of a half in which Daniels threw for 355 yards, 4 yards less than his previous high for an entire game. Daniels said in watching the replay Sunday, he was surprised how unfazed he looked under the circumstances.
"I was scared, actually," Daniels said. "I looked down, saw my feet and I was in the end zone. I was like 'Man, I don't want to get a safety.' So I guess my nature was to try to get out of there. I tried to keep my eyes downfield and hit guys that are open."