All good things must come to an end, and it ended in spectacular fashion on Saturday as the USF Bulls allowed a 4th and 24 conversion by Houston and subsequent touchdown run to end their perfect season.
Head coach Charlie Strong and players addressed the media for the first time after a loss under Strong.
On the loss Saturday:
Head coach Charlie Strong here:— The Daily Stampede (@StampedeSBN) October 31, 2017
“Tough loss on Saturday. We had opportunities to make plays and we didn’t”
Fourth and 24 will be burned into our minds forever as one of the worst plays in school history, but it didn’t have to come down to that.
On the previous drive, the Bulls had a first and 15 from the Houston 24 after a false start on William Atterbury with 3:50 left on the game clock. At some point Strong and offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert powered it down to play for the field goal.
Charlie says he has a play-clock coach in the box, and that's his only job. #USF— Joey Knight (@TBTimes_Bulls) October 31, 2017
Well, that coach failed him.
- On that false start, the Bulls left 29 seconds on the play clock when they snapped the ball. (Hard to imagine USF was planning to power it down at this point, so this might have been OK.)
- First and 15, they let the clock run down inside five seconds and running back Darius Tice gains the penalty yards back. Good. Houston calls timeout with 3:08 left after letting ten seconds run off.
- Second and ten, running back D’Ernest Johnson runs up the middle for two yards. Powering down.
- Third and eight, Johnson gets four yards but USF leaves 16 seconds on the play clock.
The Bulls settle for an easy Emilio Nadelman field goal to take the lead 24-21 with 1:46 left in the game. In total, USF left at least 16 and maybe as many as 45 extra seconds on the clock for the Cougars to score. They scored with 11 seconds left in the game. This might be a problem, and we’ll go in depth about this later.
Charlie reiterates clock management on final possession didn't cost #USF the game. "At the end, you still got 'em to 4th down."— Joey Knight (@TBTimes_Bulls) October 31, 2017
Ah, Coaching Carousel, We Meet Again.
Once the University of Florida canned head coach Jim “I’m Really Wormtail from Harry Potter” McElwain, you knew Strong’s name was going to be mentioned as a potential replacement, along with C.’s Scott Frost and former USF head coach Willie Taggart. Strong and the players said all the right things. Kinda.
“I told the team my focus is here. This is my job.”— The Daily Stampede (@StampedeSBN) October 31, 2017
Strong on coaching rumors
“That doesn’t affect us”— The Daily Stampede (@StampedeSBN) October 31, 2017
Nichols on Charlie Strong’s name being mentioned for #UF job
“It is what it is. Players play and coaches coach”— The Daily Stampede (@StampedeSBN) October 31, 2017
Nichols asked directly if Strong addressed the coaching rumors.
“I’d have to sit down and talk with Mark (Harlan)”— The Daily Stampede (@StampedeSBN) October 31, 2017
Strong on possibly accepting an interview invite from UF
FFS. I mean, I don’t think UF would hire a defensive coach like Strong, because they got a tire fire of an offense and need someone to fix that and Gilbert ain’t fixing that mess.
Don’t Let Houston Beat You Twice
“I’ve never seen a team so down”— The Daily Stampede (@StampedeSBN) October 31, 2017
Strong on the team after the loss.
Tice: “Don’t let Houston beat us twice. No one is gonna feel sorry for us.”— The Daily Stampede (@StampedeSBN) October 31, 2017
It’s worrisome that the team was so down after the Houston game, and you have to worry about them laying an egg at UConn. Tice said the seniors got up and spoke to the team, led by senior LB Auggie Sanchez, after the loss about regrouping for UConn. This senior-laden team should handle this loss better than previous teams might have. Also UConn is really bad and just lost at home by 40 to probably the worst team in the SEC.