This is a new spot for our program. It's USF's 16th year of playing football, and we've never really hit the point where we're all openly questioning the head coach. I mean, it was starting to happen with Jim Leavitt right around the time he was let go, and had things continued on their natural course, eventually we'd have reached the same place with him that we are now with Skip Holtz. But here we are. Last year Skip got a pass because we figured, that had to be a total fluke of a season, right? Well, it's not looking like much of a fluke at the moment.
Can you name one facet of the team that played well last night? The running game? The offensive line? The receivers? The secondary? The front seven? (They probably came the closest.) The special teams? The quarterback?
B.J. Daniels wasn't great by any stretch of the imagination, and his accuracy was as sketchy as it was in Reno last week, but his stat line looked worse than it was because he was being let down all over the place. His offensive line couldn't block the Rutgers front, especially the interior of the line. (Austin Reiter got abused last night, and that pathetic dive into the back of Scott Vallone's knees was one of the worst things I've ever seen a USF player do on a football field.) Two of his three interceptions were throws that skipped off his receivers' hands. Guys dropped passes on him. There wasn't much of a running game other than what he created. Not many quarterbacks would be able to cover up for all that.
Then the defense couldn't get off the field, pretty much at all. Rutgers ran 23 more plays than USF and held the ball for over 38 minutes. Where's all this attacking on defense that Chris Cosh said we were going to see? How much pressure did the defense get on Gary Nova? What was with the Snyder-esque cushions the receivers were getting? Rutgers gained 424 yards, which is at least 100 more than anyone who watched their first two games could have possibly thought they'd end up with. USF's defense actually did a pretty good job on Jawan Jamison, all things considered. But when you keep letting the other team convert third downs throwing the ball because you can't force any mistakes, the defense gets tired and the running game starts to break through.
If it's not one thing with this team, it's another. Either they go in with a bad plan, or they make undisciplined mistakes, or they don't execute (five turnovers!), or the coaches sabotage them with bad decisions. They got lucky to win last week, and this week they got what they deserved. Three games in and this team looks about as bad as any Bulls team I can remember. For God's sake, this game ended with a penalty runoff because of a false start with the clock running.
Mark at Big East Coast Bias rattled off this ugly stat last night -- USF's seven wins since the end of the 2010 season are against Notre Dame, Ball State, Florida A&M, UTEP, Syracuse, Chattanooga, and Nevada. That's two FCS schools, two below-average non-BCS teams, Syracuse, and two very fortunate road wins over quality competition. And Greg Auman added this doozy -- the Bulls have exactly ONE win against a BCS school at home since Holtz took over. They beat a hideous Rutgers team by one point in 2010, and even that was kind of lucky. (Remember, the winning touchdown in that game was scored by an offensive lineman.) Really makes you want to take advantage of all those $10 ticket specials and LivingSocial packages, doesn't it?
P.S. Skip somehow got a five-year extension in the offseason, and the guy who gave it to him got his own contract extension this week, along with yet another raise and incentives. So get used to all this.