Rutgers true freshman QB Gary Nova is last in the Big East in pass efficiency, but USF coach Skip Holtz said he still needs his defense to improve Saturday if the Bulls are to end a three-game losing streak.
"If he looks anything like every other quarterback we've seen, he'll look again like an All-American," Holtz said.
"We're going to have to try and do some things defensively that we haven't done to this point. (Defensive coordinator Mark) Snyder has a great mind, and having the open date has been a positive thing for us. As a defensive staff, we've been able to look at some cutups and see where we are."
Nova is second in the Big East with six touchdowns in conference play, but he also leads the league with five interceptions thrown in Rutgers' four Big East games and is completing fewer than half of his pass attempts.
"Gary Nova is going to be an excellent quarterback," Holtz said. "I understand what coach (Greg) Schiano is doing, investing in his future. He's a very talented player and he's going to be really good. … He's a very smart player and he throws the ball extremely well."
USF ranks last in the Big East in scoring defense, giving up 32.3 points per game in three conference games, and they're second to last in total defense, allowing 427.7 yards per game. Holtz is hoping for a game more like the one against Connecticut, when the Bulls held the Huskies to 253 yards of total offense.
"Statistically, defensively we certainly aren't very good, when you look at us just statistically," Holtz said. "We've made quite a bit of mistakes and we've given up an awful lot of big plays."
FSU: Good news on WR
TALLAHASSEE — Over the past three weeks, any optimism Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher had that his prized young receiver would make a speedy recovery from an ankle injury began to wane.
He shook his head Wednesday when asked if Rashad Greene would return against North Carolina State. The injury had spread, he said. It was in the freshman's Achilles'.
Saturday, after the Seminoles had beaten the Wolfpack 34-0, the refrain was similar, only this time Fisher added that Greene was "day-to-day."
Either the pain is subsiding, or Greene made a recovery Fisher wasn't anticipating. After missing all of last week's practices, Greene has made the first two this week.
"We weren't ready for him to do as much as he did (Sunday)," Fisher said. "He did a lot more than we thought. He's got that soreness working out of that Achilles', and he was working out. That was by far —by far — the best he's looked."
Miami: Changing habits
CORAL GABLES — Miami coach Al Golden said in a radio interview that some of his players are "clock-punchers" who "still think this is intramurals."
He added that players are starting to understand talent isn't enough.
After practice, he told reporters, "You can create a culture, and I want to make sure I'm clear in my comments, I'm not saying they're old habits or new habits. I'm saying they're bad habits. This isn't anybody's problem but mine."
Golden said "internal peer pressure" is critical right now for the 4-4 Hurricanes because "nothing outside the building should motivate us or de-motivate us. …
"At some point we have to understand that (ex-QB Ken) Dorsey is not walking through the door today," Golden said. "He's not."
UCF: Trip to Buckeyes set
Central Florida is likely to play Ohio State at Ohio Stadium on Sept. 8, 2012.
The Orlando Sentinel reported that UCF athletic director Keith Tribble said the Knights were on the verge of signing an agreement to play the Buckeyes in 2012. UCF was originally slated to play Pittsburgh next season, but the Panthers asked to be released from the agreement. Tribble said UCF agreed and eventually reached a one-game verbal agreement with Ohio State.