TAMPA, Fla. —- It was nice to celebrate the 36-31, victory against Western Carolina University but it is time to go back to work and get ready for the University of Maryland, Saturday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. inside Raymond James Stadium.
The University of Maryland is also finishing a celebration too, the Terrapins opened up the 2014 season with a 52-7, victory against James Madison University.
Both coaches for both teams will be looking to continue the feeling of euphoria but also both coaches will be guarding for any sign of not being ready and being prepared.
University of Maryland football coach Randy Edsall said that this week’s team’s preparation will be getting comfortable controlling the ball and managing the heat on the field during the game.
“It’s good to get some heat in here because they are predicting for 89 degrees and about 72 percent humidity and wind out of the southeast at seven miles an hour,” Edsall said about the possible weather his team will facing in Florida Saturday. “So this weather this week will be good for us to practice as we head down to Tampa to play South Florida.”
University of South Florida football coach Willie Taggart said that he is simply looking for a little more improvement from his team and that he is still encouraged by the way his team handled adversity against Western Carolina University.
“I’m proud of the way they responded from a tough half, It was exciting for me, encouraging for me, just knowing that we were going to get out of it just because our attitude was so much better,” Taggart said. “We know we can be a lot better than what we showed out there on Saturday. When you’re not at your best and you still can win a ball game, that’s encouraging.”
The Bulls’ offense struggle during the first half, the defense played erratically but the special team play kept the Bulls close to the Catamounts.
Bulls’ starting quarterback Mike White did not look sharp in the pocket, Taggart said after the game that he watch, White throw some passes that he had never seen before but Taggart did not panic and kept White in the game.
White finished the game against WCU with nine completions of 26 passing attempts for 181 yards. He was not sacked but he did throw an interception.
The saving grace for the Bulls came from freshman running back Marion Mack and his ability to run for 275 yards and scoring four touchdowns with runs of 62,60,56 and 3 yards.
“Mack is very talented, he is a true freshman who’s shifty, quick and fast. He has good vision, good patience getting to the hole and good vision to see things,” Edsall said about Mack. “We’re really going to be challenged we’ll have to tackle well, get to the gaps and when we run to the ball, we’re going to have to take good angles.”
The Bulls’ defense did not sparkle either against the Catamounts.
Western Carolina University ran 96 offensive plays, Catamount quarterback Troy Mitchell threw the ball 66 times and completed 46 passes for 374 yards.
Taggart said that the coaches on the sideline and in the press box made some adjustments to the defense to give it more balance.
The Bulls’ defense moved the corners up to help support the ends and the linebackers, which help the defensive line. Gaps were opened and the defense was able to get into them to stop the ball.
“I think South Florida defensively is a team that has good athlete. They have guys that can run, so we’ve looked at them and dissected them and are going to put together a game plan that we do compared to what we see on film,” Edsall said about his offense facing the Bulls’ defense. “South Florida is athletic, they can run and they don’t stay blocked very long these are types of things that can make it tough on an offense.”
Against the Dukes, the University of Maryland’s offense gained a total of 471 yards of total offense, 285 yards running the ball.
Terrapins’ quarterback C.J. Brown said that he did not have a good day in the pocket, he threw the ball 35 times and completed 18 passes for 186 yards. He threw one touchdown pass and threw one interception.
Edsall said that his offense is in capable hands and does not worry about the offense.
“I think that the quarterback always has to be hard on themselves,” Edsall said about his quarterback. “I think C.J was just saying what he thought was the truth. He’s not afraid to take the blame or admit that he did not play up to his expectations. I don’t worry about C.J. and I’m glad C.J. is under center doing it for us.”
Taggart and the Bulls should expect a balance offense attack from the University of Maryland and trying to gain command of the tempo of the game.
The Bulls’ defense can’t give the University of Maryland, 96 offensive plays and think they will have enough time to establish Mack and the Bulls’ running game.
The heat will be in attendance Saturday afternoon and the Bulls have some advantage with the weather but White is going to have come out of head and deal with the hot weather and the hot Terrapins’ defense.
The key for victory for the Bulls is simply in the hands of the 3-4 defense and their ability to make and getting stops, making defensive adjustment to make stops and giving the offense a chance for the Bulls’ offense to control the ball because of the defense making -stops.
How do the Bulls make stops?
The answer is simple and the basic fundamental of playing football-tackle!
According to Taggart, Mack’s performance inspired the Bulls to perform better maybe this week the defense can inspire the offense to score points-by making tackles.
There is no doubt the University of Maryland will be a test for the University of South Florida and a victory against the Terrapins will go a long way and the celebration would continue until the next game.
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.