TAMPA, Fla. —- It’s that time of the year, spooky ghost and goblins, bloody zombies and creatures from beyond will knocking at the door looking to be rewarded with a sweet treat.
The University of South Florida football program worked quietly through out the long bye week, resting those nagging injuries and getting ready for the 2013 edition of Homecoming with a group that is coming into Raymond James Stadium, Saturday October 26, 2013 an angry group from Louisville.
The University of Louisville will make the trip into Tampa after feeling the sting of defeat at home on the shore of the Ohio River by the University of Central Florida.
The Knights defeated the Cardinals 38-35, last Thursday night October 17, 2013 in front of a national televised audience game from Papa John Stadium.
“UCF played amazing defense,” University of South Florida defensive tackle Todd Chandler said. “They didn’t quit when Louisville punched them in the mouth. They didn’t blink and eye. They just kept coming and fighting and I know that’s what South Florida is going to do. We’re not going to blink.”
The Bulls football coach Willie Taggart is well-educated about the Cardinals and their high-octane offense, led by quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, an explosive defense and a dangerous special team.
“ We understand there is a challenge with the University of Louisville,” Taggart said. “They’re a real talented football team in every aspect.”
Taggart and the Bulls have been hit by injuries, the Bulls are getting healthy but it is a time consuming process. The offense will be lead by quarterback Bobby Eveld who is replacing Steven Bench and Taggart is happy with Eveld grasp of the Bulls’ offense and with his the approach and preparation for games.
“First and foremost, he’s done a good job of taking care of the football,” Taggart said. “That is so important with us as we continue to get better offensively trying to take care of the football. I think that’s a big reason we’ve ended up on the right side of these games.”
Taggart is talking about the Bulls winning two games in row and being in a three way tie on top of the American Athletic Conference.
Conference leading rusher Marcus Shaw injured against the University of Cincinnati, sat out against the Bulls 13-10 victory against the University of Connecticut.
Replacing Shaw in the backfield for the Bulls, is red shirt sophomore Willie Davis carried the ball eight times against the Huskies for 36 yards.
Davis said that his position coach Telly Lockette is responsible for getting him prepared with hard work on fundamentals, being ready to help the team and just to the best that he can do running the ball, catching or blocking.
“My situation is a prime example of patience. Before the past game against UConn, I hadn’t played a snap on offense at running back,” Davis said. “He just kept telling me, ’Keep grinding and stay patient for your name to be called.’ Sure enough it was and I was ready.”
Davis helped the Bulls when the offense broke the huddle and went to line of scrimmage with ball resting on the University of South Florida’s three-yard line. Davis took the ball and ran into the line. He came through the line, he carried the ball and Huskies defenders for 16-yards and first a first down.
“Plays like that really get your football team going,” Taggart said. “To give that much effort and to get the first down was pretty incredible, especially for a guy like Willie that hadn’t played.”
The Bulls’ defense has scored a touchdown off of three turnovers in three straight games and is ranked 13th in the nation in converting turnovers for points, last season the Bulls were last in the NCAA in forcing turnovers.
“If you just watch it, I think you can see that out of our defense. They’re having fun now and flying around,” Taggart said. “They look faster than they did earlier and I think that comes by simplify things.”
The Bulls defense will have to be ready for a potent Cardinal offense led by Bridgewater, the Cardinals are the top offense in the conference averaging 496.4 yards of total offense.
Bridgewater is the best in the league in passing efficiency completing 72 percent of his passing attempts, he is also averaging 316.1 yards per game and that is good for second in conference.
The Bulls will have to play the best game of the season against the University of Louisville, every phase of the game will have to be prepared and play mistake free football against the Cardinals.
The Bulls defense will have to make stops and get off of the field to keep Bridgewater over on the sideline. It would help the Bulls, if they could produce turnover and get some points to help the offense and finally the Bulls have to play with limited penalties.
“They’re a football team and they put on pads just like the rest of us,” Taggart said about facing the University of Louisville. “We didn’t put that ranking on them, someone else did that. We have to show up and we have to play at noon.”
Can the Bulls defeat the University of Louisville?
Well this is the season of trickery!
Some simple changes made by the Bulls this week could produce a treat for Taggart, the Bulls and the fans in the seat celebrating a Homecoming victory.
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.