TAMPA, Fla. —- Uncle Mel and the University of South Florida’s offense both suffered Saturday night, Nov. 16, both were at home and both were feeling sick and wavered under the weather.
The University of Memphis left Raymond James Stadium and headed back to their home that is pretty close to the muddy banks of the Mississippi River, not too far from the gates of Graceland were it magically stands and with there first American Athletic Conference victory neatly packed away in the travel trunks as the University of South Florida Bulls cough and wheezed and were defeated 23-10 by the Tigers.
Meanwhile, in his comfortable recliner, your old Uncle struggled with the feeling of nausea and he watched the University of South Florida football coach Willie Taggart struggle too, with that old familiar feeling, deep down in the pit of his stomach and the look on his face said that he might be getting sick and tired of watching his offense struggle or he was reacting to a bad case of heartburn.
Your old Uncle can join all of those Bulls’ fans that continue to bless the defense, for the Bulls are trying really hard to keep their collective heads together, keep standing tall as a unit and keep the Bulls’ competitive but the offense is chronically succumbed to the infectious bug called – too many turnover.
The total of five turnovers committed Saturday night by the Bulls is too much of a bitter pill for Taggart and for the Bulls’ fans to swallow.
Your old, Uncle Mel at home plus the 30,831 of his nieces and nephews sat and watched from inside Raymond James Stadium. We all got to witness Bulls’ freshman quarterback, Mike White joined the rest of the Bulls’ quarterback special fraternity by throwing an interception for touchdown.
That’s right – White threw the ball and the result made the rest of us and Uncle Mel turn green and continued to feel ill, as the ball found it way back to the end zone giving the Tigers six points. University of Memphis defensive back Bobby McCain took White’s pass 31 yards for the score.
White is the fourth quarterback that has started for Taggart and for the Bulls this season.
Coincidently, he is also the fourth quarterback to throw a pass and have it intercepted and watch a defender returned the ball back for a touchdown.
Against the Tigers, White threw the ball 33 times and completed 18 passes but he was intercepted four times and those mistakes including the one that went back to the end zone has Taggart and the fans reaching for anti-acid medicine.
“I told Mike there isn’t a quarterback out there that isn’t going to have a bad game, Taggart said about his team’s quarterback after the game against the University of Memphis. “He tried to do a little more than what he did before. He’s going to be a real good quarterback. The kid can get it done.”
Now Uncle Mel is not a genius about football and it might be that the fever is playing tricks with Uncle Mel’s eyesight but the numbers illustrates the story for the Bulls.
University of South Florida rushing offense is ranked 113th in the entire NCAA, the passing offense is ranked 111th and the total offense is 120th out of 123 teams.
The quarterbacks for the University of South Florida have thrown 12 interceptions this season.
After reading those numbers about the Bulls’ offense, the need for some relief really does need to happen quickly for both Uncle Mel and for the Bulls’ offense.
The Pony Show is coming into Raymond James Stadium this Saturday night, Nov 23, 2013 all the way from Dallas, Texas and the Bulls will be facing the high-octane passing attack of Southern Methodist University and that game will close out the home portion of the University of South Florida‘s 2013 football schedule.
The defense especially the defensive backs need to be ready and well because they will be tested often by the Mustangs’ quarterback Garrett Gilbert and by his receivers.
Gilbert leads the nation in total offense with 405.7 yards per game, he is second in the nation in completions per game with 35.1 and he is responsible for 27 of SMU 31 touchdowns for this season.
Sothern Methodist University football coach June Jones says that the Bulls defense is going to be a good test for the Mustangs. The Bulls are 31st in the nation in total defense and last Saturday night, the Bulls only allowed 59 yards to the University of Memphis passing the ball.
The Bulls defensive line will have to get into the face of Gilbert quickly and the linebackers are going to have to disguise the blitz package but most important is that the Bulls’ defensive ends will have to collapse the pocket around Gilbert and force him into mistakes.
The Bulls offense will need to get better and eliminate the turnover bug against the Mustangs and one way to do that is to control the game clock, keeping the ball away from Gilbert and the Bulls can do that by getting the rushing game on its feet again.
Bulls’ senior running back Marcus Shaw is a competitive player and he would like to be a huge factor in the game against SMU by having a great Senior Night, he just can’t put any unnecessary pressure on himself to do too much in front of friends and relatives.
Shaw is second in the conference with 91.9 yards per game and Taggart is hoping that Shaw’s running style will be true-to-form before his hamstring injury that Shaw suffered against the University of Cincinnati slowed him up and forcing him to miss two games.
Bulls’ senior fullback Lawrence Martin also need to step up and so he can cheerfully celebrate Senior Night by playing and positively contributing to the Bulls’ offense.
Martin needs to lead the way for Shaw and provide a strong inside game for the Bulls, leading the way for Shaw. Martin needs to hang on to the ball and force the Mustangs to collapse into the middle and open up off tackle plays for Shaw.
“We all want to finish these last three games with wins and go out on a positive note and better the future for USF,” Martin said.
If the Bulls offense can establish a strong running game that should provide some type of a passing game to create a balance offense.
Bulls’ wide receiver Andre Davis became just the third player in USF history to have a back-to-back 100-yard game with seven receptions for 110 yards against the University of Memphis last Saturday night.
Davis and tight end Mike McFarland can be the comfort-blanket for White by just providing plenty of safe and manageable pass patterns, not to mention give Jones another phase of the Bulls offense for the SMU defense to be concern with Saturday night.
Saturday night will be a night of celebration, because the 17 seniors playing for the Bulls will make an appearance in their final home game in their college career.
“It’s an opportunity for our seniors to go out with a win at Raymond James Stadium. It’s important and something we strive for,” Taggart said about the special night that will be celebrated Saturday.
A victory against Southern Methodist University and their the high octane offense will be a tonic that will cure a lot of ills lingering around and inside Raymond James Stadium.
The road to recovery is scheduled to start Saturday night at 7 p.m.
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.