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'We don't want to be 2-0 and everybody asks 'What happened?''

2

November

Digital voice recorders these days have hours and hours of memory, but if you do enough interviews, you get close to running out of space and have to go back and purge old files you don't need anymore to make room for new ones.

So I was going back over early-season interviews and I found something that still holds a lot of relevance, from defensive backs coach Rick Smith on the Monday after USF's win against Nevada, as the Bulls scrambled to get ready for Rutgers on a short week.

If you'll remember, USF beat Nevada 32-31, but only after rallying for two touchdowns in the final three minutes. The Bulls gave up 208 yards on Nevada's first three drives and trailed 21-6 after one quarter. So it was a win, but a win in which the Bulls gave up 549 yards, including a pair of 100-yard rushing games, and committed 13 penalties for 107 yards.

Smith talked that day about the importance of not letting players get overconfident by the result, and of the coaching staff's efforts to make sure players were aware of the problems made clear in Nevada's offensive success.

"Sometimes, they lose focus because everybody's patting them on the back," Smith said. "Coach Holtz is really ... today might have been our hardest practice. He talked to them last night. We practiced last night and ran them. They got the message. We don't want to be 2-0 and everybody asks 'What happened?' We've been there. Last year, we beat Notre Dame and what happened? This year, we beat a good football team, at their place. We didn't play well. We weren't disciplined. We had belief and played as a team."

The Bulls have dropped six in a row since then, with defensive concerns a major part of USF's struggles. A year ago, USF opened the year 4-0, only to drop seven of the final eight games. So as surprising as this skid as been for the Bulls, it's also something that coaches were guarding against before it started.

[Last modified: Friday, November 2, 2012 9:59am]

    

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