Advertisement
  1. Sports
  2. /
  3. USF Bulls

Four takeaways from chat with USF coordinators Kerwin Bell, Brian Jean-Mary

Bell said the Bulls offensive line had its best day of the season at UConn
USF defensive coordinator Brian Jean-Mary (center) said he doesn't expect BYU to modify its offense for new Cougars starting quarterback Jaren Hall. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times] [OCTAVIO JONES | Times]
Published Oct. 9

USF coordinators Kerwin Bell and Brian Jean-Mary held their weekly session with local reporters Wednesday, discussing last week’s triumph at Connecticut and Saturday’s homecoming game against BYU. Here are four significant takeaways from the conversations:

1. The seniors stepped up on the o-line

Few Bulls have been challenged more in the season’s early stages than right tackle Marcus Norman and right guard Billy Atterbury. But in Saturday’s 48-22 romp in East Hartford, Conn., both fifth-year seniors responded in a big way.

Norman graded out at close to 90 percent, according to Bell, complementing sophomore left tackle Donovan Jennings, a Gaither High alumnus whom Bell said is performing “unbelievable” at this point.

“So we just challenged those two seniors, ‘Y’all have got to go play, now,’” Bell said. “And they really picked their game up, and I think that’s really where we got going, now we had all five playing at a really high level.”

2. Blake Barnett is still ailing

USF quarterback Blake Barnett (11) tackled by SMU linebacker JC Rispress (32) while throwing during the fourth quarter at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida on Sunday, September 28, 2019. SMU won, 48-21. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times] [OCTAVIO JONES | Times]

Bell indicated the Bulls’ senior quarterback still is nursing a high-ankle sprain, leaving him doubtful for Saturday’s contest. He added starter Jordan McCloud remains nagged by a right-wrist contusion, but appears to be progressing from some dinged-up ankles of his own.

McCloud ran for 62 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries at UConn. “I think his ankles, which are really important for his mobility, gives us that extra dimension,” Bell said, “and I think he’s gonna be almost 100 percent as far as that’s concerned.”

MORE BULLS: Could former USF quarterback Quinton Flowers return to Tampa?

3. Cougars will be Cougars

Jean-Mary said he doesn’t expect BYU to modify its pro-style offense in any way now that starter Zach Wilson (hand) is sidelined. The reason: redshirt freshman Jaren Hall, who will become the first black quarterback to start for BYU on Saturday, took a bulk of reps in the spring while Wilson was recovering from shoulder surgery.

“I think they have some talented guys,” Jean-Mary said. “I think their receivers are as good a group as we have seen.”

MORE BULLS: Five things to know about BYU

4. A weighty challenge

Utah running back Zack Moss (2) carries the ball as BYU defensive lineman Khyiris Tonga (95) defends in the first half of the Utes' victory last month in Provo, Utah.(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) [RICK BOWMER | AP]

Bell expressed concern over BYU’s odd-man defensive fronts led by 321-pound nose guard Khyiris Tonga and his backup, 307-pound redshirt freshman Atunaisa Mahe. Tonga, a junior who has played in 31 career games, has 18 tackles, a sack and two pass breakups.

“I told (center) Brad (Cecil) this is his Super Bowl, he’s got to play well for us in there,” Bell said. “He’s got a big assignment.”

Contact Joey Knight at jknight@tampabay.com. Follow @TBTimes_Bulls.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. USF defensive lineman Kelvin Pinkney (96) celebrates the stop against BYU during the first half at Raymond James Stadium. OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    Suddenly, bowl eligibility doesn’t seem so far-fetched for the Bulls.
  2. BYU quarterback Baylor Romney (16) is stopped on fourth down by the USF defense during the second half Saturday at Raymond James Stadium. OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    Journal: The school also announces $2.5 million in athletic department donations, a good chunk of which will go toward an indoor practice facility.
  3. The Bulls come back from a 13-point deficit to win 27-23.
  4. USF running back Jordan Cronkrite (2) dives over BYU defensive back Tavita Gagnier (34) for the first down during the second half of the game at Raymond James Stadium. OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    Martin Fennelly: The senior running back has his second straight big game to help lift the Bulls.
  5. USF tight end Mitchell Wilcox (89) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against BYU during the second quarter at Raymond James Stadium. OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    The Bulls come back from a 13-point deficit to win 27-23.
  6. Florida Gators defensive back CJ Henderson (1) wags his finger after breaking up a pass intended for Miami Hurricanes wide receiver Jeff Thomas during the season opener. MONICA HERNDON  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Matt Baker: A running back duel at Clemson and why Jordan Cronkrite could be in for another big day for USF. Plus, Tampa Bay Times staff picks for week 7.
  7. BYU redshirt freshman Jaren Hall will become the first African-American to start a game at quarterback for the Cougars when they face USF on Saturday. JAREN WILKEY  |  BYU
    The freshman will become the first African-American to start a game at QB for the Cougars
  8. USF senior tight end Mitch Wilcox has 10 receptions (three of them for touchdowns) through five games. OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    The NFL draft prospect is coming off arguably his best game as a run blocker.
  9. USF defensive coordinator Brian Jean-Mary (center) said he doesn't expect BYU to modify its offense for new Cougars starting quarterback Jaren Hall. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times] OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    Bell said the Bulls offensive line had its best day of the season at UConn
  10. USF walk-on receiver Bryce Miller (19) celebrates with guard William Atterbury (78) after scoring a touchdown in the fourth quarter at Tampa's Raymond James Stadium on Sept. 28. OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    It’s homecoming for the Bulls, and the Bucs and Bolts go international.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement