USF journal: Coby Weiss earns AAC honor

Walk-on kicker Coby Weiss of USF was named AAC Co-Special Teams Player of the Week
USF placekicker Coby Weiss (24) boots a field goal as punter Trent Schneider (39) holds in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Tulsa in Tulsa, Okla., Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki) OKSO107
USF placekicker Coby Weiss (24) boots a field goal as punter Trent Schneider (39) holds in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Tulsa in Tulsa, Okla., Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki) OKSO107
Published Oct. 15, 2018|Updated Oct. 15, 2018

Bulls sophomore walk-on Coby Weiss, who nailed the winning 22-yard field goal Friday at Tulsa, was named American Athletic Conference co-special teams player of the week on Monday.

TB Jordan Cronkrite, who recorded his fourth consecutive 100-yard game (25 carries, 151 yards, one touchdown) in the 25-24 triumph, made the league's weekly honor roll.

Weiss' decisive kick, with two seconds remaining, came a week after he was targeted during a PAT at UMass. The play resulted in what Coach Charlie Strong said was a broken right finger, forcing Weiss to kick with a cast Friday night.

"But he was able to kick it," Strong said. "We went out there and watched him kick it (during pregame) with the cast on, and he did a really good job."

Weiss, who prevailed in a crowded kicking derby stretching from the preseason until the first couple of games, also had a 22-yarder in the first quarter at Tulsa. The Tennessee State transfer has hit his last six field goals, though none have been longer than 38 yards. He had a PAT blocked Friday.

MICHAEL HITS GAINER HOME: The Bulls family didn't escape Hurricane Michael unscathed. The Panama City home of sophomore OL Christion Gainer, among a handful of Bulls who hail from the Panhandle, was flooded and rendered unlivable for now, team officials indicated.

Gainer didn't travel with the Bulls to Tulsa.

"I called him (Sunday) and he was at home," Strong said. "I think he may have come back today, but I told him to take as much time as he needed with his family."

BLAKE GETS HIS BEARINGS: The Bulls' sluggish starts remained a prevalent theme during Strong's weekly press conference Monday, with the coach offering a partial explanation for Friday's three-point first half at Tulsa.

Strong said Tulsa employed a cloud coverage (with three defensive backs across the back of the secondary) that may have taken QB Blake Barnett out of his rhythm initially (9-for-21 in the first half). Struggling to find open receivers most of the night, Barnett also was sacked three times.

He finished 17-for-39 for 237 yards.

"They were not gonna let us throw the ball in the middle," Strong said. "And some of the throws he made, we had guys, we just didn't find the guys. And once he settled down and he was able to just get his confidence back and then let Coach (Sterlin) Gilbert coach him, then we were able to make those throws."

Coinciding with the slow starts (USF has totaled 23 first-half points in three of its last four games) has been first-down inefficiency. Of the Bulls' 22 first-down plays in the first three quarters Friday, 17 were runs. Ten of those netted 3 or fewer yards.

"We're not executing, and then the defense is giving you all these different looks," Strong said. "But what we've got to do is, we can't get behind the chain, and that's what we're doing.

ODDS AND ENDS: TV has exercised its six-day window on USF's Oct. 27 game at Houston, meaning kickoff time won't be announced until next weekend. … Freshman KR Terrence Horne, who returned consecutive kickoffs for TDs against Georgia Tech shortly before suffering a torn right ACL, was named a Sporting News Midseason All-American. … Jason Horowitz (play-by-play) and David Diehl (analysis)) will serve as the CBS Sports Network broadcast crew for Saturday's homecoming game against Connecticut. … This is the earliest in which USF (6-0, 2-0 AAC) has become bowl-eligible. … Friday's victory was USF's 35th since the start of the 2015 season, setting the program record for wins in a four-year span. Jim Leavitt's teams won 34 from 2006-09.

AUDIBLE: "A lot of times when you get in close games, guys tighten up. It's like these guys get loose and then they start playing. It's like, 'Why do we wait so late to play?'" — Strong, whose team has been tied or trailed entering the fourth quarter of four of their six games