O-line evolves into steady force for USF
After losing three veteran starters to graduation, USF's offensive line entered spring drills less than nine months ago as one of the team's biggest questions.
Today, it's the Bulls' biggest constant.
Barring an 11th-hour casualty, USF will employ the same starting offensive line Saturday against No. 21 Temple that it has used the previous nine games. Connecticut is the only other American Athletic Conference team to use the same starting front all year.
"Very, very important," offensive line coach Danny Hope said. "And we've reaped some benefits from it."
The Bulls quintet -- LT Kofi Amichia, LG Thor Jozwiak, C Brynjar Gudmundsson, RG Dominique Threatt and RT Mak Djulbegovic -- has blocked for a rushing attack that ranks 22nd nationally (217.0 ypg). What's more, the group rarely takes a play off -- literally.
Hope has substituted once -- inserting backup G Jeremi Hall -- in the last two games.
"There's some times that I wanted to rotate in the games earlier in the season, but thought leaving the (starters) in there just to create the continuity was important to us," said Hope, whose unit has blocked for a rushing attack that ranks 22nd nationally (217.0 ypg).
"We have some other guys that have worked hard and are prepared to go in the game, but we've stuck with our (starters) to create the continuity."
COOK'S CALIBER? Bulls defensive coordinator Tom Allen said Temple junior Jahad Thomas, the American Athletic Conference's top rusher (970 yards), will be the second-best back USF has seen this season behind FSU Heisman candidate Dalvin Cook.
"It's his feet, he's got great feet," Allen said. "His jump-cut and his change of direction, he's got good speed, really good speed. He's not (Cook) but he's the next best that we've played. Very special back, tough kid, and he fits what they do very well."
ODDS AND ENDS: Allen said the Bulls were in a coverage-based dime package on the last play at East Carolina, which ended with Kevin Bronson and Zack Bullock sacking Pirates QB James Summers. "Any time you can end a game on a sack, that's like a coach's dream," Allen said. ... WR A.J. Legree had his upper left leg wrapped and was walking gingerly after Wednesday's practice. Coach Willie Taggart could provide an update on his status Thursday. ... In honor of Veterans Day, USF will wear stars-and-stripes helmet logos and the patches of all five military-service branches Saturday. A flyover of MH60T helicopters will precede the game.