#57 South Florida Football Preview

South Florida Bulls

Overall Rank: #57
#4 Big East Conference

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2010 Record: (8-5, 3-4)
2010 Bowl: Meineke Bowl vs. Clemson (31-26 W)
Coach: Skip Holtz (8-5 at USF, 80-55 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Todd Fitch
Defensive Coordinator: Mark Snyder

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Demetris Murray, RB, 542 yards
Passing: B.J. Daniels, QB, 1,685 yards
Receiving: Evan Landi, WR, 390 yards
Tackles: DeDe Lattimore, LB, 69
Sacks: Jon Lejiste, SS, 4
Interceptions: Jerrell Young, 3

Other Key Returnees:  WR A.J. Love, LG Jeremiah Warren, DE Claude Davis, OLB Sam Barrington, MLB Michael Lanaris, CB Quenton Washington

Key Losses:  RB Mo Plancher,  WR Dontavia Bogan, TE Kevin Gidrey, OT  Jacob Sims, DT Terrell McClain,  DE Craig Marshall, SLB Jacquain Williams , CB Mistral Raymond

The South Florida Bulls enter the second season of the Coach Skip Holtz tenure with a lot of excitement and hope for the future after a tumultuous ending to previous coach Jim Leavitt’s reign at South Florida. This still relatively young program has now gone to six straight bowl games with three wins in a row in bowl games and are looking to build on the momentum of winning on the road at difficult places like Cincinnati and Louisville. With a relatively wide open Big East Conference in 2011, the Bulls look to take advantage of their youth and strong home grown talent to finally secure a Big East Championship.

Depth at running back, with the arrival of Colorado transfer Darrell Scott and the playmaking ability of B.J. Daniels, is a very good potential combination offensively for South Florida. The secondary appears to be almost two-deep, with three of the four starters returning. Defensive Coordinator Mark Snyder may be able to take some chances with his young defensive line in getting after opposing quarterbacks since he has so much returning experience in the secondary. Also, the emergence of freshman linebacker Dede Lattimore brings a dynamic playmaking threat defensively that the Bulls will need more of in 2011. In the kicking game, placekicker Maikon Bonani brings a steadiness to the position. He made a clutch game winning field goal of 37 yards in overtime to knock off Louisville on the road last season. Moreover, coach Skip Holtz’s ability to motivate and get the most out of his players was an underlying factor for the Bulls to be competitive in almost every game last season as they only lost one game by more than 14 points at Florida.

The inability to make explosive plays in the passing game is a huge concern coming into fall camp. Teams most likely will bring eight or nine guys in the box and dare B.J. Daniels to beat him with his arm. To loosen up opposing defenses, the return of a healthy A.J. Love at receiver, who suffered a torn ACL and was out the entire 2010 season, should help returning starter Evan Landi be able to get open and make bigger plays. The offensive line needs to come together and find consistent combinations for Coach Skip Holtz to enhance the consistency of the offense. Defensively, the lack of returning starters on the defensive line is problematic as they need a leader to step up and replace Terrell McClain who has moved on to the NFL. Sophomore Ryne Giddens and senior defensive end Claude Davis will be relied upon heavily to step up to supply a pass rush for the Bulls.

The Bottom Line:
The second year of the coach Skip Holtz era at South Florida opens with a tough task going to his father Lou Holtz’s old stomping grounds at Notre Dame. If the Bulls can find a way to win they should be 4-0 heading into a Thursday night nationally televised showdown on the road at Pittsburgh. The Big East slate starts off with a tall task for an inexperienced offense as South Florida has four out of their five conference games on the road. Thus, some very stern tests await Coach Skip Holtz’s squad and if B.J. Daniels can somehow find some more consistency and cut down his interception totals, the chances of another eight or nine win season will go up significantly. If he doesn’t then a young defense will have their backs against the wall and will need to create big plays and create short fields for the South Florida offense to win games in 2011.

Projected Bowl:  BBVA Compass Bowl

2010 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 144.9 (71st in nation, 6th in conference)
Passing Offense: 164.5 (101, 7)
Total Offense: 309.4 (105, 7)
Scoring Offense: 24.1 (84, 5)
Rushing Defense: 125.6 (22, 3)
Pass Defense: 192.3 (24, 5)
Total Defense: 317.9 (17, 5)
Scoring Defense: 20.0 (22, 5)
Turnover Margin: -0.15 (67, 5)
Sacks: 2.31(35, 4)
Sacks Allowed: 2.00 (69, 3)

Madness 2012 NFL Draft Rankings

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