Blame Bobby Eveld, if you wish. Considering the sling around his left arm, it isn't as if he can put up much of a defense.
Blame Matt Floyd, if you prefer. Considering that none of his 35 passes resulted in a touchdown, he's a logical target.
Blame B.J. Daniels for getting his ankle broken. Blame the USF recruiters for not having a better option at quarterback. Blame all the other quarterbacks who preferred other campuses to USF's over the past few seasons.
Right about now, that's the temptation for Bulls fans after USF was clobbered 40-9 by Miami. The young quarterbacks looked like, well, young quarterbacks. You can suggest that this is why Eveld hasn't played and that is why Floyd hasn't played.
Yeah, blame the backups. That would be easy, and it would be convenient, and it would expected.
On the other hand, it would be off target.
Granted, neither Eveld nor Floyd suggested that greatness had arrived on Saturday afternoon. But if you want to list the reasons USF lost another game, the quarterbacks probably come in about fifth on the list of suspects. Maybe sixth. Frankly, that is a much more frightening notion than blaming two quarterbacks who weren't expected to win — or to play, for that matter — for USF this season.
Want to blame someone? Blame the secondary, which may be the worst in the nation. It is amazing how open the Miami receivers were for most of the day. Put it this way: There are fewer kids lost at Disney World than in the Bulls' secondary.
Want to blame someone? Blame the receivers. As Bulls coach Skip Holtz pointed out, it wasn't as if they helped out either quarterback by breaking tackles or making circus catches. The old rule about young quarterbacks is that their teammates have to play better around them. That didn't happen.
Want to blame someone? Blame Holtz. The time management at the end of the first half was so horrible, you want to chip in to buy the Skipper a watch. (Four plays in 68 seconds?)
And tell me again: Why kick two field goals while 34 points behind in the fourth quarter? Wouldn't it be more beneficial to let a quarterback make a throw?
In other words, it wasn't the new guys at fault here. It was the old guys.
"I don't think those two quarterbacks lost it," Holtz said. "I would certainly like to tell you, if this was a 28-26 game and we threw an interception backed up late in the first half and they got points, then yeah, that could have been the difference. But I don't think it was inexperienced quarterbacks that lost this game. I think it was more of a story that we didn't play well enough around them."
Again, if you were looking for a long-term answer at quarterback, well, you're going to need more evidence. If I were a Bulls fan, I would send a tape of this game to wavering commit Asiantii Woulard. And also to every other three star or better quarterback in high school. And to every junior college quarterback who has some sizzle. I would label the tape with only one word: Help.
Say this for Eveld. He went through a season in 15 snaps. That's how long he played until his left shoulder was separated on a hard tackle. It was a tough finish for Eveld, Holtz's I've-got-a-secret starter.
"I know it's easy to second-guess and say it was wrong," Holtz said. "I'm sick. I absolutely hate it for Bobby. But we made the decision that we felt gave this football team the best opportunity to win coming in."
As for Floyd, he threw two interceptions on his first six passes. After that, however, he wasn't bad for his first start, hitting 20 of 35 passes in all. Again, the offense did not score a touchdown against a Miami defense that had been 89th in the country in scoring defense.
In other words, yeah, if USF is going to be better as a program, it is going to need a lot better performance from its quarterbacks.
From everyone else, too.
Listen to Gary Shelton weekdays from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on 98.7-FM the Fan.