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USF Football Tuesday Press Conference Tweetcap

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Fresh off their bye week, the Bulls look to run their record to 6-0 Saturday night.

Temple v South Florida Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images

Bye weeks are very important in college football for many reasons, like homesick players going home to visit their families and coaches out on the ‘crootin trail making sure #Stampede18 is a great class. But the most important reason why bye weeks are so vital: rest and rehabilitation.

USF head coach Charlie Strong and center Cam Ruff spoke with the media about the bye week and their upcoming game against the Cincinnati Bearcats.

Strong on bye weeks:

Coaches loves their routines and absolutely hate it when they get messed up or interrupted in any way.

Strong on confidence level after winning ten games in a row:

Strong cites going down early to San Jose State and Stony Brook as a testament to the resolve this team has.

“They get to a point where (they’re) a team that can’t be beat, won’t be beat. That’s the mindset we continue to build,” Strong said.

Strong on the offensive and defensive line play:

WHO WOULD HAVE EVER GUESSED THAT MOVING YOUR REMINGTON TROPHY AWARD WATCH LIST CANDIDATE BACK TO CENTER WOULD ACTUALLY WORK????

Ever since Ruff moved back to center after the Stony Brook game, the offense has been clicking at a high rate. They’ve scored 151 points in their last three games, capped off by 61 at East Carolina.

The Bulls have rushed for at least 300 yards in all three games since the switch. Senior running back D’Ernest Johnson has reached 100 yards in all three games and he has a chance to tie former RB Andre Hall with four consecutive 100-yard efforts (Quinton Flowers and former back Marlon Mack hold the record with five). The Bearcats are allowing over 220 yards per game, so The Deuce could get loose again for another hunnid.

Defensively, coming into this season there were major question marks along the line. They have surpassed every expectation, much like the entire defense itself. Senior DT Bruce Hector has anchored the interior with seven TFLs and three sacks. Fellow senior Mike Love also has three sacks on the year.

Sophomore DE Greg Reaves continues to be one of the brightest spots defensively. He seemingly came out of nowhere in fall camp to earn a starting job and has not disappointed. His 14 tackles are second among the defensive line (Hector has 15). Reaves also has four TFLs and two sacks. Defensive coordinator Brian Jean-Mary has used Reaves in nearly every conceivable way this year, with a hand in the ground, standing up and rushing, and even dropping back into coverage on multiple occasions. Fish meet water.

Ruff on teams trash-talking Flowers:

Flowers has told us this much, but he acknowledged to Max Olson of The Athletic that the trash talk has gotten pretty bad:

USF’s senior quarterback and reigning AAC Offensive Player of the Year says he’s hearing way more trash talk than in the past. Opponents are trying their best to rattle and frustrate him.

“It gets really bad on the field,” Flowers told The All-American.

As an example, he brings up an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty he drew earlier this season against Temple. Flowers trucked a defender near the Owls’ sideline on a short run and player had some words for him. He turned and talked back. He got flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct from an official who thought he was taunting.

“I didn’t say nothing,” Flowers said. “But I had a feeling this was going to happen, that a lot of guys would try to get in my head. I don’t let it happen.”

Injury Update:

The offense will get a big boost with Antoine back in the fold after missing the last two games due to an ankle/foot injury. He’s listed as the backup slot WR behind Tyre McCants.

RB Darius Tice and D’Ernest Johnson were seen with walking boots on last week, but that was more maintenance during the bye week than actual injuries.