TAMPA — Challenged with a short week preparing for Thursday night's home game against Rutgers after a thrilling road win at Nevada, USF's coaches got an early start, completing their normal postgame video breakdown on laptops on the Bulls' flight home overnight into Sunday morning.
Coach Skip Holtz said the team didn't land in Tampa until about 3 a.m. Sunday, but by then, he had already graded film from the 32-31 win against Nevada on the first leg. By the time the team's charter flight stopped in Oklahoma City to refuel, he was ready to break down Rutgers' season-opening win against Tulane, with video of the Scarlet Knights' win Saturday against Howard waiting when he got to the office.
"Before the plane took off, I had a laptop in front of me with the game on it," Holtz said. "They are very good batteries. That was five hours in the air, and they worked tremendously the whole five hours, because it was on."
In truth, the Bulls had started scouting Rutgers over the summer, anticipating the short week and looking over last season's tapes and building a preliminary scouting report, knowing there would be some changes as the team moved from coach Greg Schiano —now with the Bucs — to his former assistant Kyle Flood.
"I think they have a really good running game. … their offensive line is doing some good things," Holtz said. "Defensively, they're just as strong and aggressive as ever. They led our league in defense a year ago, and I think they're one or two in pretty much every statistical category."
INJURY UPDATE: Holtz said he's encouraged by the recovery of senior CB Kayvon Webster, who injured his right leg in the third quarter and did not return. Webster was optimistic he would play against Rutgers. Holtz said it's too early to tell on WR Sterling Griffin, who injured his right knee and watched the second half on crutches from the sideline.
Holtz said RB Marcus Shaw, who missed Saturday's game with an ankle injury, "ran around some" Sunday night but was still hobbled, and he was unsure if he would be available Thursday. He could return to practice Tuesday, Holtz said.
FLAGS FLYING: Holtz was especially unhappy about the number of penalties USF committed Saturday — 13 for 107 yards, including a pair of 15-yard defensive penalties on one drive. In all, Nevada had four first downs on penalties.
"We need to eliminate the penalties. Those are going to stop," he said. "I've had about enough of the penalties. I don't want to wait until we lose to make an issue about it. It's a lack of discipline on our part, as a team, as a staff."