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USF Bulls

Even at 4-0, how good is USF?

Olivia Stacey

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Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire

After rolling over Temple with a 43-7 win on Thursday, USF moved up three spots to No. 18 in the latest Associated Press Top 25 rankings. The 4-0 Bulls are off to a promising start.

The team features one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the nation and it’s defense has made significant strides from last season.

The Bulls rank in the top 25 of nine NCAA defensive categories, including first in interceptions (12), second in pass efficiency defense (83.65), and third in rushing defense (66.0 YPG).

The numbers are solid, however, the poor performance of their opponents begs the question: has USF faced a true test this season? Furthermore, can we fully evaluate how good this team is considering their opponents?

The undefeated Bulls have taken on San Jose, Stony Brook, Illinois and Temple— each has had their share of offensive struggles.

USF’s rout of Temple brought to light the good, the bad, and the ugly. Let’s start with the good.

The Bulls defense forced six turnovers— just one away from tying the school’s record. Impressive.

No FBS team allowed fewer yards than USF did against Temple in Week 4. Also impressive.

However, these two teams looked like they were playing in completely different divisions.

USF held Temple to just 85 total yards, the fewest for an FBS opponent in Bulls history. But perhaps the bigger story line on Thursday, was an inefficient Owls offense.

Temple was plagued by ill-advised passes, dropped balls and a nonexistent running game. They ran for minus-four yards, only completed 30 percent of their passes, and the team’s lone score came from their defense.

It was a subpar night for USF’s offense. There were nine times in the first three quarters when USF started a drive in Temple territory, but only totaled 26 points. Poor play-calling didn’t help.

While the end result was a notable conference win for the Bulls, the final score was not indicative of how badly Temple played. The bottom line is that USF’s offense left a lot of points on the field.

In what seems to be a trend, the Bulls started off slow and sloppy against Illinois the week prior. Penalties from both teams ran rampant, but as the game continued, Illinois appeared to be overmatched by USF who managed to blow out the Big Ten Illini with a 44-15 win.

Coming into the game, Illinois’ offense had signs of trouble. The team is currently only averaging 17 points per game and 324 yards on offense in what looks to be a long year for Coach Lovie Smith and his young team.

So yes, USF is winning, but it’s clear that the Bulls offense is still finding their rhythm four weeks into the season.

USF’s offense has a chance to make up for Thursday’s lackluster performance as they travel to East Carolina for their conference road opener this Saturday. The Pirates, who rank as the worst defensive team in the country, are allowing 48 points and 624.8 yards per game. This could be a big opportunity for quarterback Quinton Flowers and his offense to have some fun.

The Bulls, who are averaging 10 penalties per game, will need to show more discipline and get off to a quicker start if they want to remain in contention for their first conference title. They have the tools, and a favorable schedule to do so.

Are the Bulls as good as their undefeated record, or have they benefited from a lightweight schedule thus far?

Join the discussion by leaving your thoughts below.

Olivia is a multi-faceted sports reporter based in Tampa Bay where she has covered events from the College Football National Championship to the Stanley Cup Final. A native Floridian, she grew up rooting for Tampa’s sports teams, and graduated from East Lake High in Tarpon Springs. Olivia continued her education at the University of Florida where she received her broadcast journalism degree.

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    John Valencia

    September 26, 2017 at 10:19 am

    Yes they are! The defense is one of the best. All the teams they have beaten have also beaten other teams. And it is not that they have won is look at the final score board of every game! They still need to improve, but keep in mind new coaching staff and we jut went through a major hurricane in Florida. If this was FSU everyone would be saying how great they are. It is time to give respect to a team like USF who has earned the respect. They will keep improving. Penalties will go down and offense will improve making this a complete team.

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USF Bulls

Report- Alabama will hire Charlie Strong as consultant

Florida Football Insiders

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Former USF coach Charlie Strong has decided on a new role for the upcoming 2020 season, and it won’t be in Gainesville.

ESPN college football insider Chris Low reported Tuesday morning that Strong has agreed to join Nick Saban’s staff at Alabama as a defensive “consultant” for this season

As we wrote last week, Strong had visited Saban and the Tide about the possible position on his staff, while considering a similar opportunity to join either Dan Mullen’s Gators staff or a couple of others in a consulting role. None of this will affect the nearly $3 million that USF still owes him as the buyout on the final two years of his contract.

Strong was fired after the Bulls collapsed losing their final four games to finish 4 – 8 this season. They were beaten by 27 or more points five times this year, including the last two losses to Memphis and rival UCF. This combined with the Bulls having lost their final six games, including their bowl game last year, meant that Strong had lost 14 of his final 18 games.

USF hired Clemson Co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott earlier about a week later and gave him a 5-year, $12 million deal to become a first-time head coach in FBS football.

There had been some debate about Strong’s buyout being the amount of compensation that was remaining on his original five-year contract that he signed when he took the job in December of 2016 after being fired by the University of Texas. That contract called for Strong to be paid to $2. 5 million on average for 2020 and 2021.

However, USF informed Strong in his termination letter that the amount would be approximately $3 million under clauses in his deal.

Saban has a history of taking in former head coaches to come to Bama and observe and assist as a consultant with either his offense or defense. He’s done this for the last two years with former Tennessee coach Butch Jones and obviously, took in both Lane Kiffin and Steve Sarkisian both of whom had been fired as coaches by USC at different stages.

Strong is known is an outstanding defensive coach from his previous days, as the Gators defensive coordinator under Urban Meyer. He later went on to success at the University of Louisville before taking The the Texas head coaching job in 2014.

Strong was fired after three seasons in Austin in 2016, but immediately hired by USF to replace Willie Taggart.

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USF Bulls

Former USF coach Strong to be consultant for Alabama?

Florida Football Insiders

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Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

And intriguing item popped up Friday morning involving former USF head coach Charlie Strong and him visiting Nick Saban the Alabama football program.

According to Alabama Insider and radio host, Aaron Suttles, Strong, who was dismissed last December after his third season with the Bulls, was in Tuscaloosa Thursday meeting with Saban and his staff:

Strong had also been reportedly talking with the University of Florida about a possible consultant role, which likely would not affect the nearly $3 million that USF still owes him as the buyout on the final two years of his contract.

Strong was fired after the Bulls collapsed losing their final four games to finish 4 – 8 this season. They were beaten by 27 or more points five times this year, including the last two losses to Memphis and rival UCF. This combined with the Bulls having lost their final six games, including their bowl game last year, meant that Strong had lost 14 of his final 18 games.

USF hired Clemson Co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott earlier about a week later and gave him a 5-year, $12 million deal to become a first-time head coach in FBS football.

There had been some debate about Strong’s buyout being the amount of compensation that was remaining on his original five-year contract that he signed when he took the job in December of 2016 after being fired by the University of Texas. That contract called for Strong to be paid to $2. 5 million on average for 2020 and 2021.

However, USF informed Strong in his termination letter that the amount would be approximately $3 million under clauses in his deal.

Saban has a history of taking in former head coaches to come to Bama and observe and assist as a consultant with either his offense or defense. He’s done this for the last two years with former Tennessee coach Butch Jones and obviously, took in both Lane Kiffin and Steve Sarkisian both of whom had been fired as coaches by USC at different stages.

Strong is known is an outstanding defensive coach from his previous days, as the Gators defensive coordinator under Urban Meyer. He later went on to success at the University of Louisville before taking The the Texas head coaching job in 2014.

Strong was fired after three seasons in Austin in 2016, but immediately hired by USF to replace Willie Taggart

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