TAMPA — Perhaps fittingly on a day of offensive discombobulation, the Bulls' quarterback rotation Friday seemed to lack clear rhyme or reason.
Or even rhythm.
With starter Blake Barnett sidelined by ankle and shoulder injuries, third-year starter Chris Oladokun started, was relieved by Brett Kean for the better part of two quarters, then re-entered.
In the end, Oladokun finished 7-for-12 for 77 yards with one interception and the Bulls' lone offensive highlight: a 34-yard touchdown strike to TB Johnny Ford, who found himself isolated on LB Pat Jasinski. Kean finished 8-for-17 for 36 yards. Neither had an impact on the ground.
"Both of 'em were gonna play, so it was just a judgment call of who was gonna go in," Bulls coach Charlie Strong said. "Chris started off and Brett came in. … Both of those guys have played and they practiced so they were gonna be given that opportunity."
Kean entered shortly after Oladokun's pick, a telegraphed downfield throw snagged by FS Richie Grant with six minutes to play in the first quarter. He nearly changed the complexion of the game when he found isolated WR Randall St. Felix downfield on a Knights coverage breakdown with USF trailing 17-3 in the third, but overthrew him.
He was sacked for a 15-yard loss the next play, and relieved the next series by Oladukon, who hooked up with Ford to make it a one-score game. But the Bulls failed to get even a first down on their last four possessions.
"I just think my coaches felt like that (inserting Kean) was the best decision to make at that time," Oladokun said. "And I fully support it. I'm a team player, so whatever we've got to do to win the ball game is what we've got to do."
Barnett, who missed the Bulls' loss to Cincinnati with shoulder soreness two weeks ago, didn't suit up Friday but is expected to return for USF's bowl game. He re-aggravated the injury and injured an ankle in last weekend's 27-17 loss at Temple, but completed the game.
Also not suiting up Friday (with unspecified injuries) were S Bentlee Sanders, TB Trevon Sands and DT Kevin Bronson. WR Darnell Salomon, who had five catches for 139 yards against UCF last season, was held out due to a coach's decision.
Sizing things up
In what has evolved into a refrain of sorts, Strong, whose staff embarks on another recruiting swing Monday, said the Bulls must get bigger defensively.
The Bulls, who entered Friday's game with the nation's 121st-ranked run defense (247.2 ypg) were gashed for 391 yards on the ground by UCF. WLB Khalid McGee, a converted safety generously listed at 213 pounds, led USF with 13 tackles. No starting defensive linemen was listed at more than 288 pounds.
By contrast, UCF starting DT Joey Connors was listed at 313, and DE Brendon Hayes at 293.
"Our team don't look like their team," Strong said. "We look nothing like their team."
Odds and ends
Friday's announced crowd of 57,626 was the second-largest in series history. A RayJay crowd of 65,948 watched then-unbeaten USF trounce the Knights 64-12 in 2007. … McGee became the 15th player in USF history to post 100 tackles in a season. He'll enter the bowl game with 104. … TE Mitch Wilcox had five receptions Friday, giving him 69 for his career. He needs six in the bowl game to equal Sean Price's USF career record for tight ends.