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Joey Knight’s takeaways from USF-South Carolina State

At least one unit still has some serious shortcomings entering conference play.
Relentless pressure caused this first-half fumble; No. 20 Bentlee Sanders knocking it free with No. 4 Greg Reaves ready to pounce. USF recovered, then scored a touchdown just a few plays later against visiting South Carolina State. [SCOTT PURKS  |  Special to the Times]
Relentless pressure caused this first-half fumble; No. 20 Bentlee Sanders knocking it free with No. 4 Greg Reaves ready to pounce. USF recovered, then scored a touchdown just a few plays later against visiting South Carolina State. [SCOTT PURKS | Special to the Times]
Published Sep. 15
Updated Sep. 15

Though it mostly stifled South Carolina State by forcing eight turnovers, we still don’t know how stout (or spotty) USF’s defense is. Since a 49-0 opening-night loss to Wisconsin, the unit has surrendered 30 total points, albeit to a Division I-AA foe and a Power Five team (Georgia Tech) that lost to The Citadel on Saturday. SCSU totaled 378 yards Saturday and finished 11-for-23 on third down.

RELATED: Jordan McCloud helps USF snap eight-game skid

Desperately needed victory aside, anyone who doesn’t believe the Bulls have serious offensive line issues is simply in denial. Fortunately for USF, Jordan McCloud’s mobility (12 carries, 56 yards, two TDs) was able to partially compensate for what has become the team’s most glaring liability.

MORE COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Want to tune out UCF’s battle cries? Got to beat the Knights first

Before McCloud trotted out for the game’s opening snap, senior Blake Barnett was announced as the starter on the Raymond James Stadium video board, and was listed as the starter on the pregame depth chart distributed in the press box. So why the willful subterfuge on the starting QB? We can see the coaches wanting to keep things shrouded for, say, South Carolina. But South Carolina State?



ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. The first time they met, Jeff Scott was a 14-year-old following his father's footsteps and Michael Kelly was fresh out of college. A quarter-century later, Kelly has entrusted Scott to take the USF football program to a new level. "I knew instinctively this day would come for him, but I never knew it would align for the two of us to be together,'' Kelly said. [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
    John Romano | South Florida is a program with little history and loads of potential, and Scott is a hotshot young coach looking to make a name for himself.
  2. New FAU coach Willie Taggart faces one of his old teams, USF, on Sept. 26, 2020 in Boca Raton. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times] [JONES, OCTAVIO  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    He moves to his fourth program in the past 36 months. Adding intrigue to the hire, FAU hosts USF in 2020.
  3. (From left) USF Bulls mascot 'Rocky the Bull", new USF football coach Jeff Scott, his wife Sara and their 4-year-old daughter Savannah pose for photos after his announcement at the Sam and Martha Gibbons Alumni Center on Wednesday [OCTAVIO JONES | Times] [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
    The fifth football coach in USF history seems to hit all the right notes to a standing-room-only crowd
  4. LSU players celebrate after the Southeastern Conference championship NCAA college football game against Georgia, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019, in Atlanta. LSU won 37-10. [JOHN BAZEMORE  |  AP]
    “Members of Congress care about college sports. They recognize how important it is to American society."
  5. Jeff Scott is introduced as the new USF football coach at the Sam and Martha Gibbons Alumni Center in Tampa on Wednesday, [OCTAVIO JONES | Times] [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
    Signs and sound bites indicate the Clemson co-offensive coordinator was the Bulls’ top choice all along
  6. Jeff Scott is introduced as the new USF Bulls head football coach at the University of South Florida Sam and Martha Gibbons Alumni Center in Tampa, Florida on Wednesday, December 11, 2019.  [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
    In fact, here’s how he did it as a Clemson walk-on in 2001
  7. In this Jan. 5 file photo, Clemson Tigers co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott speaks with media during media day at the SAP Center prior to the College Football Playoff national championship game  vs. the Alabama Crimson Tide at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. [ADAM LACY  |  ZUMAPRESS.com]
    Scott will be the sixth assistant to keep working for a College Football Playoff team while serving as an incoming head coach elsewhere.
  8. New USF football coach Jeff Scott receives a de facto $500,000 signing bonus on Jan. 17, 2020. [ JACOB KUPFERMAN  |  ZUMAPRESS.com]
    The former Clemson co-offensive coordinator must pay USF $2.5 million if he leaves on his own before Dec. 31 2020.
  9. New USF coach Jeff Scott has spent the last 12 seasons on the staff at Clemson, his alma mater. [ADAM LACY  |  ZUMAPRESS.com]
    The fifth Bulls coach in program history will appear at the Sam & Martha Gibbons Alumni Center.
  10. Clemson co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott talks with receivers Mike Williams (7) and Artavis Scott (3) during a 2016 game at FSU. Scott was named USF's coach Monday. [DAVID GROOMS/CAL SPORT MEDIA  |  ZUMAPRESS.com]
    Though not the bay area’s primary recruiter for Clemson, Scott’s fingerprints are all over the region.
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