A new wrinkle in USF's offense, with backup B.J. Daniels at quarterback and Matt Grothe lined up as a receiver, made its debut at Western Kentucky. And while it looks like the wildcat formation popularized by the Miami Dolphins last year, offensive coordinator Mike Canales has a fitting name for it: Toro Loco, which translates in the USF football world to Wild Bull.
"I was very pleased with the way it worked," Canales said after Saturday's 35-13 win. "It's something we've been working on. We needed to show it. We need people to work on it."
Canales' version adds even more possibilities, in that the Bulls had all three quarterbacks on the field when they first showed the formation, with redshirt freshman Evan Landi, who also plays receiver. "When you have three quarterbacks, there are so many things you can do out of it," Canales said. "We're just working on it, progressing. It's nice, because there are options."
USF got a 7-yard run from Daniels the first time it lined up in the formation, then gained 8 on an end-around by freshman Lindsey Lamar. USF scored its third TD out of the formation, with Daniels running for 7 yards, and the fourth time was negated by a chop-block penalty.
RUN DEFENSE: Western Kentucky QB Brandon Smith rushed for 105 yards, and USF defensive coordinator Joe Tresey said he was surprised by the offensive tweak. Smith rushed for minus-2 yards against Tennessee a week earlier, when WKU had 83 total yards; the Hilltoppers finished with 284 against USF, 200 on the ground.
"The quarterback gashed us a couple of times big," he said. "We obviously hadn't seen it, hadn't repped it. It just didn't hit us."
USF is second nationally, allowing 59 passing yards per game, but has struggled against the run, allowing 188.5 yards, No. 98 nationally.
"It always concerns you, but bottom line, we won the football game. In this day and age in football, ask Virginia. That's all I've got to say. Ask Kansas State," said Tresey, referring to BCS programs that have been upset.
THIS AND THAT: Coach Jim Leavitt said WR Evan Landi will "probably" miss this week's game against Charleston Southern with a shoulder injury. He's hopeful he'll return for FSU on Sept. 26. ... Freshman DE Ryne Giddins of Armwood made his debut with 1-1/2 tackles for loss on WKU's final series. "Once he gave me the opportunity, I had to seize it," he said. "It all depends on what they want me to do. I'm here for the team."
Times writer Greg Auman can be reached at email@example.com and at (813) 226-3346. Check out his blog at blogs.tampabay.com/usf and follow him at Twitter.com/gregauman.