Godwin: USF defense 'built for games like this'
While watching Memphis amass 570 yards on 73 plays in Thursday night's 53-46 victory against Cincinnati, Bulls junior SS Nate Godwin never grimaced.
To the contrary, he grinned.
"I smiled," the Freedom High alumnus said, "because we're built for games like this."
USF's 4-2-5 alignment, installed by new coordinator Tom Allen specifically to neutralize spread-style offenses, gets arguably its most stringent test to date Friday against the Tigers. The Bulls have yet to face a wholesale spread system, but have been victimized by missed tackles, miscommunication and a lack of discipline to this point.
So why does Godwin, whose unit ranks 45th nationally (344.7 ypg) feel like the Bulls match up favorably?
"We run a 4-2-5, we've got five (defensive backs) and they love to pass the ball," he said. "We've got guys that can run, so I feel like we can keep up with the routes that they have. A lot of our coverages mesh to the routes that they're running so, I think it fits us pretty well."
Coach Willie Taggart concurred, saying he feels the Bulls are built to face any offense "as long as we execute it the way that we're capable of."
"But again, it's so important that we have eye discipline, we just don't fall for anything. It's so important that we don't give up explosive plays. We've got to do a great job of tackling and getting guys to the ball because they live off explosive plays."
MORE MACK: Taggart said Tuesday he assumes the blame for 2014 American Athletic Conference rushing leader Marlon Mack getting only 12 carries at Maryland. In three games, Mack has 53 carries -- five fewer than he had this time last season.
"No matter how that (Maryland) game goes, he's got to get more than 12 touches, he just has to," Taggart said. "And that's on me to make sure that he gets more than 12 touches, and he will."
TAKING A CUE FROM CINCY? Bulls QB Quinton Flowers, who by all accounts has shined in the half-dozen or so practices since the Maryland game, suggested his team has the chance to flourish with the short passing game against Memphis.
The Tigers surrendered 752 yards to Cincinnati, with freshman QB Hayden Moore passing for 557 in barely more than three quarters.
"(The Bearcats) were using their players to where they were picking them. That's what we see that we can do," Flowers said.
"You know, if you're going to play Marlon Mack, you have to play him. If you're going to stick him, you're going to have to stick him because if you let him (loose), he's gone. If you let me get loose, I'm gone. And we've got receivers out there and they're fast. When they get the ball, they're gone. So you have to play us."
ODDS AND ENDS: Taggart said TE Kano Dillon, who missed the Maryland game after taking a vicious upper-body shot on the final play at FSU (targeting wasn't called), will play Friday. ... The Bulls will wear their UnderArmour "SoFlo" uniforms (bright green and gold) Friday. ... At 39, Taggart and Memphis' Justin Fuente are the two youngest coaches in the conference (Fuente is a month older). ... USF is 1-4 under Taggart when coming off a bye week. ... Taggart said his team, which hasn't yet lost a fumble this season, put the ball on the ground a total of once during rain-soaked practices Sunday and Tuesday.
AUDIBLE: "All of our goals are still there. If we win this game, everything changes -- at least for a week." -- Taggart
AUDIBLE II: "No, we're not gonna take that out. That's part of our offense, we're just gonna do it better. We're gonna do it better, and I think we haven't run it enough. That's part of the problem too." -- Taggart, when asked about possibly removing bubble screens from the playbook