BROOKSVILLE, Fla. —- Another Saturday afternoon, what could be better than watching a college football game with all the pageantry and color under a brilliant sunny sky in a city that sits on the bay.
No, no, Uncle Mel is not talking about the city of San Francisco but the city of Tampa and of course football at the University of South Florida.
What made Saturday special for Uncle Mel?
It was the first University of South Florida homecoming celebration, the Bulls’ defense played with passion but the Bulls fell 34-3, to the University of Louisville, damping the mood for any kind of celebration.
What Uncle Mel did see along with 35,787 mostly Bulls fans inside Raymond James Stadium, we all witnessed one offense that could explode instantly for a touchdown or just drive the ball down the field with a commander at the helm who is poised and smart but-can he execute plays.
We all sat and watched, the other offense struggle, cough and made wheezing sounds on the field and finally just run out of gas and stalled.
The University of South Florida football coach Willie Taggart told Uncle Mel that his offense is a serious point of concern but as soon as the Bulls’ coaching staff and Taggart find some playmakers then everything will be just fine.
The Bulls’ offense has not scored a touchdown in three games, that makes Uncle Mel wonder, how can this team be 2-1 in the conference?
The answer is-by sure luck and a defense that can provide touchdowns off of turnovers.
Any way you look at it, the formula is helpful but it is not going to win too many ballgames.
Uncle Mel has been told by many coaches that defense will win championships but can a team really rely on the defense to score touchdowns?
The Bulls’ total offense of just 133 yards against the Cardinals, pleased the University of Louisville football coach Charles Strong, he enjoyed watching his defense make plays, make stops and force the Bulls to punt the ball back to the capable hands of Cardinals quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
Bridgewater threw for 344 yards, completing 25-of-29 passes and three touchdowns. It was his 12th 300-yard game in Bridgewater’s career and his sixth this season.
Taggart on the other hand watched his offense struggle with every phase of the offensive game plan.
In the first quarter and early in the second quarter, Bulls’starting quarterback Bobby Eveld did seem to find some sense of rhythm but late in the first half Eveld was sacked and he went down with an injury to his ankle and did not return to the game.
Taggart went with Steven Bench to replace Eveld but Taggart said after the game that Bench was not at 100 percent recovered from his injury that occurred against the University of Cincinnati.
Bench threw 12 passes and completed four of them for a total of 68 yards.
With 7:50 left in the fourth quarter, Bench threw an interception that Cardinals defensive back Charles Gaines, he returned the ball back 70-yards for a touchdown ending the scoring for the day for both teams and after the score there was a mass stampede from most of the Bulls’ football fans heading for the parking lot.
Taggart sat Bench down and with 7:44 left to go in regulation and Mike White made his first appearance as the Bulls’ new quarterback.
Taggart said at that point of the game, he put White in the game looking for a spark for the offense, he knew that he would be unable to red-shirt White.
There was no spark, no flicker or any other thing that could have helped the Bulls’ offense.
Now nieces and nephews do not think that your old uncle does not sympathize or understand what Taggart and his staff is going through – because he does!
Your old uncle has seen plenty of poor offenses in his time and just pure-ugly defenses too but that is not to say that Uncle Mel or Taggart like that because-we don’t!
The excuse of being a young team works for awhile but many coaches have told Uncle Mel that a certain point in the season that youthfulness should be replaced with experienced football players.
So far this season, injuries have hurt the Bulls and has devastated the offense, especially with running the ball.
The injury to running back Marcus Shaw is devastating because of the potential of Shaw’s talent but it also slowed down the progression of the rest of the young running backs.
Bench started to begin making strides in becoming a competitive and confident quarterback before he went down with an injury and now Eveld will be out for awhile with a bad ankle so Taggart said after the game against Louisville that White will be working in preparations as early as Sunday night getting ready for the University of Houston.
Now your old Uncle Mel is not trying to spread doom and gloom about the Bulls’ trouble with the offense but the numbers speak for themselves.
The Bulls are last in the American Athlete Conference in offense, last in scoring, last in passing and eighth in rushing the ball with the prognoses of not getting offensively better for the rest of the season.
Taggart said he is looking for playmakers that can make things happen for the offense, he said, even if he has to play somebody both ways like real old-school football.
Uncle Mel and the rest of the football fans that watch the University of South Florida are looking for wins from the Bulls and it can all begin with trick or treating and haunting this Halloween night in the state of Texas against the University of Houston at Reliant Stadium starting at 7 p.m.
A win against the Cougars would be a sweet treat indeed and that would help celebrate Uncle Mel’s first Halloween in the city of Tampa.
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.