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USF Bulls

Ex-USF star QB BJ Daniels wants XFL shot

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports
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A decade ago, B.J. Daniels was a hero in Green and Gold quarterbacking for the USF Bulls at Raymond James Stadium. On Saturday, he was back as one of numerous players chasing another chance to play pro football in the upcoming XFL relaunch.

Daniels was out there with over a hundred players of all positions, backgrounds and story lines trying to impress XFL league and team representatives at their “summer showcase” event being held in Tampa:

In particular, Tampa Bay’s inaugural coach and “quarterback guru,” Marc Trestman was taking a strong look at what Daniels might be able to do for their first season starting next spring. Trestman has formerly been the Bears head coach and coach of the “Grey Cup” winning Montreal Allouettes of the CFL. However, he’s mostly known for his work, as a QB coach and offensive coordinator in the NFL over the past three decades.

A former start at Tallahassee’s Lincoln high school, Daniels quarterbacked at USF between 2009-12 and led the Bulls to a lot of success over those four seasons. He left Tampa with the second most passing yards and at that time, and the most rushing yards by any QB in program history. Also throw in, the historic wins at Florida State in 2009 and at Notre Dame in the opening game of the 2011 season, and there are plenty of memories for Bulls fans.

Daniels was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in 2013 but they released him late in his rookie year, but he was picked up (above) by the Seattle Seahawks. Daniels was on their roster during the playoff run that season, when the Seahawks eventually won the Super Bowl over the Denver Broncos. Daniels then bounced on and off several other NFL rosters as teams try him at receiver and running back, as well as quarterback. He actually did play a few series in the Texans finale’ game of 2017 at quarterback.

After trying out for the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the CFL last summer where he was released before playing in regular season games, Daniels eventually ended up in the other Spring league that launched this past January. The AAF’s Salt Lake City Stallions ended up taking Daniels, as part of the leagues separate quarterback only draft. However, Daniels was injured again, before playing in a game and placed on injured reserve for the season.

Yet, Saturday he was out there in the Tampa Bay heat firing passes in front of the likes of XFL Commissioner and former NFL quarterback Oliver Luck, as well. So too was other names like former NFL and Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett, who desperately wants another chance in the upcoming spring League next February.

And, while the decision will ultimately come down to football skill, and the ability of Daniels to be healthy, it’s most likely the soon to be 30 year old Daniels will get a shot with the Tampa Bay franchise. This, if for no other reason than, thousands of local USF fans will be inclined to come did the stadium or at least watch on TV, if he’s under center at least some of the time.

And that’s something that Luck, owner of the XFL Vince McMahon and the league itself, will need a lot of next February.

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    JCR

    July 5, 2019 at 7:05 am

    Does anybody ever proofread these articles before posting? I have to wonder if Mr. Daniels wrote this himself while suffering from a concussion.

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USF Bulls

Bulls sticking with Jordan McCloud as starting QB

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

After two less than stellar offensive performances by the Bulls to start the season, USF head coach Charlie Strong and OC Kerwin Bell decided to switch things up for week 3. Just two hours before game time, the team learned that Jordan McCloud would be the starting quarterback against South Carolina state.

In fact, the decision was made so last minute that the video board in Raymond James Stadium still showed Blake Barnett as starter.

And it turned out to be a good decision.

The Bulls pulled away with their first win of the season in a 55-16 domination over the Bulldogs.

And it’s looking like they Bulls are going to try to build a win streak by keeping McCloud under center next week.

McCloud’s starting quarterback career started off a bit shaky. In his first snap, he tossed an incomplete pass intended for sophomore slot receiver Johnny Ford for a loss of 3 yards. The Bulls lost 12 yards in its first two drives with three incomplete passes and a sack.

However, he settled down on the next drive and led the offense for a gain of 64 yards, complete with a 42-yard touchdown pass to Ford. McCloud finished the game throwing for 217 yards with three touchdowns, and rushing for 56 yards. Most importantly, he proved to be shiftier behind a spotty O-Line, which allowed him to complete more plays than Blake Barnett has this season.

The redshirt freshman is a Tampa native who as senior in high school completed 160 of 295 passes for 2,426 yards and 26 touchdowns. He originally played at Sickles High School in 2017, but transferred to powerhouse 7A State title contender, Plant High. That’s where he had a 12-2 record, district and regional titles, and a trip to the state semifinals in 2018.

While it’s likely that Barnett would’ve put up similar numbers against South Carolina State, his most recent loss against Georgia Tech last weekend marked an 8 game losing streak for South Florida, and there was something to be said for switching things up and trying out McCloud.

He was able to spark USF, where Barnett clearly has not been able to since last October.

Coach Strong knows he needs to capitalize on this momentum, before this season becomes his last in Tampa.

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USF Bulls

Bulls OC Bell takes responsibility for shut out against Wisconsin

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

In Friday night’s opener against Big Ten perennial contender Wisconsin, the Bulls had suffered their worst loss in program history and left fans wondering what has caused such a downward spiral in the program over the last year and a half? And in a 49-0 loss, its hard to tell which side of the ball is a bigger struggle for the South Florida program?

While both looked alarmingly bad, the lack of offense was the ultimate reasoning behind the shut out, which led coordinator Kerwin Bell to taking full responsibility when speaking to the media on Wednesday.

“I’m the OC so I take all the blame, that’s all on my shoulders,” said Bell. “I’ve been in that position before, I’ve been shut out before, it didn’t feel good and surely last Friday night didn’t also. I was very disappointed in our performance. We’ve got a lot of work to do.”

Bell offered somewhat of an explanation as to why the team came out looking so ill-prepared and resembling every bit the team that lost their final six games last season. He said it’s the style of offense he’s introducing and that it takes time to get a team fully acclimated to it, which is not a new feat for him.

“This system is a little bit different than what everybody runs in college football, it’s more of a pro style. A lot of thinking, a lot of going through progressions and receivers changing their route on the run,” he added, “It takes a little bit of time and I’ve incorporated this thing 3 or 4 times now in new systems and we’ll be able to handle it. We’ll get up to speed, we just need some success with it.”

Bell also touched on the absence of USFs star slot receiver Johnny Ford. While there’s been no explanation to why he sat out of last weekends game, the Bulls play-caller did say that having him back will free up the rest of the offense in a major way.

“Johnny missing the game was big for us. We had a lot stuff on him to handle some of their man coverages. He’s a great man beater for us. With him being out it really put a lot of extra emphasis on other guys and he really frees up the team because he’s got so much ability running and catching the football.”

Bell, as head coach, led Valdosta State to an unbeaten season this past year and the Division II national championship. His offense at Valdosta led the nation in scoring (52.0 ppg), ranked second in first downs (341) and was fourth in total offense (523.9 ypg), red-zone offense (.901) and pass efficiency (167.37).

He has been around the block, coaching at various levels of college ball plus the CFL and high school. In addition to his many stops along the way as a coach, he also carved out a professional playing career which lasted over a decade.

Although he may have a history of offensive success, he’ll have a short timeline to start seeing success under head coach Charlie Strong or it may be a foregone conclusion before USF ever begins American Conference play, that this will be Strong’s final year and would likely Bells, as well.

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