Insider: USF Bulls Notebook
Holtz Concerned with Opening Game Turnovers
In USF’s 34-13 victory over Chattanooga there were both moments of brilliance and blunder for the Bulls.
Two of the most forgettable moments came when Chattanooga scored twice off of a pair of USF turnovers. First a field goal, then a touchdown.
Bulls quarterback B.J. Daniels made a mental error as he threw an interception just before halftime. On the play, he had four receivers downfield, two on either side. Daniels appeared to be zeroed in on tight end Evan Landi throughout the drive. Finally, Mocs’ safety D.J. Key read the play, stepped in front of the pass and returned the interception to USF’s five-yard line.
“That was probably one of my biggest disappointments coming out of Week one with the emphasis we’ve put on turnovers and knowing how many close football games we were in a year ago and the difference of one play,” Bulls head coach Skip Holtz said after practice Tuesday.
B.J. Daniels would later lose a fumble.
“We’ve talked about being four or five plays from where we want to be and one turnover is one of those plays.”
Although two turnovers may not seem like that big of a concern in a 21-point blowout victory, Holtz isn’t overlooking them for the sheer fact of how many more times the Bulls could have turned the ball over on Saturday.
“Its not that we just put the ball on the ground or turned it over, it’s how many times we had poor ball security,” the second-year head coach said. “I mean we’re running with the ball, it gets away from our body and we’re susceptible to a fumble. It’s how many of those that I see as well as the two turnovers we actually had.”
This week, Holtz is “concerned” with the possibility of turnovers, especially because of Nevada’s physical defense.
“Hopefully we can make huge strides with that from Week 1 to 2 and the players can understand what we’re talking about and see what we’re talking about and we don’t need to lose another football game before we learn those lessons,” Holtz said.
Junior running back Marcus Shaw was sidelined for a second straight practice on Tuesday because of a nagging ankle injury and that can affect whether or not senior running back Lindsey Lamar will redshirt this season.
According to Holtz, if Shaw does not practice by Thursday, he will not dress in the game against Nevada. If this happens, Lamar will not be redshirted this season and can even see playing time this week.
Although the decision to redshirt was Lamar’s choice in order to have another year of playing eligibility, Holtz said the running back is ready to play if asked.
“He’s Chuckles the Clown out there, all giggles and smiles and laughs and working hard,” Holtz said. “He understands that (redshirt) was what we talked about from the very beginning. It’s what he wanted to do. We would’ve loved doing that for him. But we’ve still got to do what’s best for this team.”
Other players were healthy going into this week, according to Coach Holtz. Redshirt sophomore offensive linemen Quinterrius Eatmon (who left the game against Chattanooga) is back at “full speed” and practiced today in full pads. Sophomore offensive linemen Darrell Williams also practiced today and should be ready to go this Saturday.
Quote of Note
The Bulls and their coaches are aware of the rather anemic running game that produced just 85 total yards against Chattanooga, but no one is overreacting, especially running backs coach Larry Scott. After practice Tuesday, Scott said there were to be no changes in practice drills. To him, it all comes down to one thing: consistency.
“We are working on the same things we are always working on,” Scott said. “That doesn’t change anything that we didn’t rush the ball for as much as we would have liked…the whole thing is about consistency.”Insider: USF Bulls Notebook by Patti McDonald