BROOKSVILLE, Fla. — So it has been a week and your old Uncle Mel is settling into his new hometown and the surrounding bay area. Your old uncle is finding the important things like, a great hamburger, a cold draft beer, bikini wearing women on the white sands by the Gulf of Mexico and another thing your old uncle is good at recognizing-bad football.
Now nieces and nephews we all must remember that college football is played by college students trying to study, get through school and play football. Sometime football fans expectations are set way too high.
Remember your old, Uncle Mel with a heavy heart left behind and said good bye to Eastern Michigan University and the Mid-American Conference and said hello to the American Athletic Conference and the University of South Florida.
The many decades following the Eagles were spent in many hours of analyzing a team that seemed to always be swimming in the pool of high expectations but by the end of the season, the program seemed to dive into the depth of disappear and then struggled just trying to stay afloat.
There were coaches that were respected as new and upcoming men, that were going to change many things in the city of Ypsilanti, the losing culture and the Eagles were going to generate excitement with the brand of football taking the field each and every Saturday-many of us believed the hype and the cornbread tasted good but in the end many of Eagle football fans became bitterly disappointed.
There were players on the cusp of greatness, quarterbacks that were going to lead the Eagles to greatness, running backs that were going to be strong enough to plow through and run toward the promise land of victories.
Many times the fans of the Eastern Michigan University football heard about receivers that posses a great pear of hands that could catch a pass hurling at them over 100 mile per hour, blazing speed and tough enough to absorb punishing hits from any defender.
Speaking of defense, there were times when Eagle fans were told that the defense would be the best in the conference and the players that signed to play for the Eagles were steals and other teams were going to sit up and take notice and be impressed.
Now here in Tampa, your old Uncle Mel is ready for a new team to cover and to write about but so far, your old buddy is hearing the same speech – as it was in Ypsilanti.
The University of South Florida will start this season in a new conference, with a new coach, with a new attitude but Uncle Mel is worried that he will be seeing the same old bad football that he is used to watching.
The American Athletic Conference is going to be an important league across the nation, there are solid and historic programs that give the league creditability.
Excepting the job as the new coach for the University of South Florida, Willie Taggard is a coach that knows success and likes the way it feels.
Taggard led Western Kentucky University to there first NCAA bowl game last season but last season, the Hilltoppers offense liked to run the ball with all-purpose running back Antonio Andrews.
Andrews finished the season with 3,161 of all-purpose yards and finding somebody like that with the Bulls will be hard to find.
Some of your old pals is telling your old uncle that USF might be the surprise team of the conference because they have disappointed fans for a long time, the Bulls seem to have the talent but some how it never makes it to the field on Saturday.
So far this what Uncle Mel knows about the Bulls, they have limited experience at quarterback, the tailbacks have not produce a lot of yards or touchdowns and the wide receivers are good size and have good speed.
The offensive line for the Bulls will be young with no projected senior starting up on the line of scrimmage.
Uncle Mel is told that the Bulls have the best talent in the conference up on the defensive line, they are supposed to be tough against the run. The toughness and the leadership of the defensive line will come from the end senior Ryne Giddins.
Last season, Giddins made 26 tackles including 3 ½ sacks for the Bulls.
The pulse of the Bulls defense will be the corps of linebackers taking the field especially from middle linebacker DeDe Lattimore, last season he finished with 76 tackles.
Taggard know how important it is to have all three of your starting linebackers back this season they should be able to anchor the defense, it gives the Bulls some stability and leadership on the defensive side of the ball.
Last season the defensive backs did not get their first interception until game number nine-that must improve!
Taggard will be looking for defensive backs that posses the ability to tackle but have speed enough to be able to break up a pass play
Uncle Mel with his own two eyes have seen plenty of bad plays from a defensive backfield that is supposed to be under the coaching guidance of a guru, a defensive coaching legend and a teacher of the art of playing in the defensive backfield.
The result of this was clearly, the worst defensive backfield in the country which equal one of the worst defense being played at any level of football.
Uncle Mel watched cornerbacks bouncing off ball carriers, missing linebackers from their responsibility and missing tackles and defensive penalties which any coach will tell you are never at the right time but for the Eagles they were always at the wrong time.
What you old Uncle Mel will be doing this season might be what all the Bulls’ fans should be doing and that is – just be patient!
Taggard is just settling in and getting comfortable in his new office and he knows that he and his coaching staff will have a lot of work ahead of them before the opening kickoff at Raymond James Stadium at 7 p.m. August 31, 2013,against McNeese State University.
Until then Uncle Mel and Taggard will enjoy the 4th of July on the soft and hot white sandy beach next to the blue water of the Gulf of Mexico, with cold refreshing drink from the cooler and just watching the world drift by one wave at a time.
About the Author
Written by Mel Suiter
Graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 2002 and have been working as a beat writer for The Ypsilanti Courier covering Eastern Michigan University football and men's basketball during my school career and after graduation. I like the Mid-American Conference and the rest of the mid-major conferences.