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Joey Knight’s takeaways from USF-SMU

Despite the offensive line’s glaring struggles, few backups are getting an opportunity.
USF quarterback Blake Barnett (11) grimaces after getting tackled on a play during the fourth quarter at Raymond James Stadium.
USF quarterback Blake Barnett (11) grimaces after getting tackled on a play during the fourth quarter at Raymond James Stadium. [ OCTAVIO JONES | Times ]
Published Sep. 29, 2019

Four games in, we don’t contemplate any redshirt-eligible Bulls following the lead of Houston quarterback D’Eriq King, who has opted to forgo the rest of this season and re-boot in 2020. But one can reasonably presume some players ― including prep seniors who have verbally committed to USF ― are pondering their futures.

RELATED: Six thoughts on Houston QB D’Eriq King’s unprecedented decision to sit out

Despite struggling to create run lanes ― or protection ― for the better part of four games, USF’s starting offensive line inexplicably remains intact. On Saturday, only one backup offensive lineman ― 6-foot-7 Virginia Tech transfer Jarrett Hopple ― got in the game.

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USF, dead last in the American Athletic Conference in third-down conversion percentage (31.1 percent) entering the weekend, likely will remain in the basement for now. The Bulls were 4-for-16 on third downs Saturday. By contrast, SMU was 9-for-17