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Bulls Recon: Cincinnati Bearcats with Down The Drive

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Is everyone fired up for the big AAC conference opener against Cincinnati this weekend!!?? Yeah, we know. But the Bulls are still going to play a game so we're going to go through the motions... hey, just like the team! Who says we don't live green and gold around here? Let's get you prepared for what will most likely be another beat down at Ray Jay. At least this one will at least be in a lesser conference, so we've got that going for us which is nice.

And hey, look on the bright side: If you weren't a sucker and bought season tickets, you'll be able to get in Saturday night with a $5 bill and still get change. USF: UNSTOPPABLE!

Thanks to Matt Opper at Down The Drive, SBNation's Cincinnati blog for his time, and you can see my snarky and bitter responses to his questions here.

1. What was the mood around the team when Munchie went down? Did it seem like a deathblow for the season, or do you still have some hope here? And who has stepped up in his absence?

The Munchie injury was the most brutal football injury that I have seen in real time. There are definitely other's through the years that are worse, but that is the worst I had seen. And it was almost certainly the worst that this group of players have seen. I don't think that the loss of Munchie has changed the goals of the team or the fans for the rest of the season. Brendon Kay has been OK in his stead, and might be a better fit for what Eddie Gran wants to offense to be, a play action based down field passing attack.

2. Hosey Williams and All-Name Team Nominee Ralph David Abernathy split the majority of your carries. Describe their running styles, and the strengths and weaknesses of each.

Hosey is built like a bowling ball, but he doesn't run as physically as he can. He goes down on first contact far too often for a man of his dimensions. Still he has been good to date, even though there is still some things he needs to learn. RDA4 is an all purpose weapon, but he has been used far more often in a traditional role, with diminished results compared to last year. The guy that everyone is keeping an eye on is Tion Green, who is a prototypical one back running back. He is big and physical with a surprising amount of burst. There will be some changes to the offense this week, or that is what we are being told. I am figuring that Green will be a bigger part of the running game going forward.

3. Your defense is only giving up 253.5 yards per game in total. What's the best way to attack them, on the ground or through the air?

Given those two options it would be through the air. The real key is to keep them off balance. Illinois OC Bill Cubit came up with a phenomenal gameplan to slow down the defense, the linebackers in particular. The strength of the defense is Greg Blair, Nick Temple and Jeff Luc, and the reason that they are so good is that they cover a ton of ground, both against the run and in coverage. Illinois got the upper hand in that game by throwing a never ending stream of new looks and wrinkles to keep them off base. If the Bulls offense gives these linebackers a chance to play downhill with aggression it could be a long game for the Bulls offense.

4. Brendon Kay has played against us before, but what should we look for out of him this season?

Hard to say. He was not healthy coming out of camp and played limited snaps against Purdue and Illinois until the Munchie injury. Since then he has had one good game, albeit against Northwestern State, and one game where he never looked completely comfortable. Against Miami (the other one) he looked jitery from the start. His footwork was a mess and he was less decisive in the pocket. As a result he turned in his worst performance since the Rutgers game last season. I have no idea what Brendon Kay will show up, the world conquering colossus of the Belk Bowl, or the guy who looked hopeless for stretches against Miami.

5. Prediction... don't worry, we won't be offended.

17-10 UC. I don't trust this team on the road.