It’s already a game week for USF football, which begins the 2017 season on the road at San Jose State on Saturday. The Bulls held their weekly press conference today to go over the Week 0 matchup.
Senior running back D’Ernest Johnson represented the offense, and fellow senior defensive tackle Bruce Hector represented the defense.
Johnson on preparing for SJSU:
RB D'Ernest Johnson here for the first press conference of the season. Says they watched a lot of Oregon State defense to prepare for SJSU— Nathan Bond (@BullsNathanSBN) August 22, 2017
The Spartans new defensive coordinator Derrick Odum spent the last two seasons at Oregon State as their safeties coach. New SJSU head coach Brent Brennan was the wide receivers coach there during that time.
Johnson: SJSU runs a 3-4 base defense— Nathan Bond (@BullsNathanSBN) August 22, 2017
Brennan installed a new moniker when he arrived at SJSU, “Spartan Speed”. He wants the offense and defense to play at a very fast pace and Odum will bring that with him. He was on staff at SMU with June Jones, so the fast pace is nothing new.
Johnson said he will return both kickoff and punts. Lots of opportunities for The Deuce— Nathan Bond (@BullsNathanSBN) August 22, 2017
The Deuce is gonna get all kinds of loose this year, replacing the departed Rodney Adams as the primary kick returner and retaining the punt return duties.
Hector on the SJSU Offense:
DT Bruce Hector here representing the defense. Says SJSU's offense will run some similar stuff as USF but with different wrinkles— Nathan Bond (@BullsNathanSBN) August 22, 2017
The Spartans’ offense will look pretty similar to USF’s because their new offensive coordinator Andrew Sowder was on staff as a quality control coach at Texas last year with Strong and OC Sterlin Gilbert. He was also with Gilbert at Bowling Green in 2014 as director of player personnel and recruiting coordinator as well as at Eastern Illinois in 2012-2013 as WR coach. Sowder is just 29 years old, which makes him the youngest OC in the FBS.
"Coach Taggart did an unbelievable job recruiting talented guys" Strong said.— The Daily Stampede (@StampedeSBN) August 22, 2017
Strong has said time and time again that Taggart baked the cake and that all he has to do is put the frosting on. Outside of the obvious talent Taggart brought in, Strong has to be most grateful for the re-recruiting he did of quarterback Quinton Flowers when the star QB wanted to leave USF before the 2015 season. Strong finally has his quarterback.
"We have to be able to tackle well and have gap control." Is there a recording of Taggart in here or something?— The Daily Stampede (@StampedeSBN) August 22, 2017
Taggart harped on these two principles during the entire 2016 season, but just couldn’t get the problem solved. I’m betting that Strong and Jean-Mary have found a solution to the problem. They don’t need to be a top 20 defense — we’ll settle for top 70.
Strong says defensive coordinator Brian Jean-Mary will be the sole play caller on defense.— The Daily Stampede (@StampedeSBN) August 22, 2017
Of the two head coaches and four coordinators involved in this game, only two have ever been the signal caller before — USF’s Strong and Gilbert. SJSU’s coaching staff has never called a game before, while BJM with all of his experience hasn’t either.
WR Ryeshene Bronson (right shoulder injury) hasn't been in the "plans" for this week. But there's some time left Strong says.— The Daily Stampede (@StampedeSBN) August 22, 2017
I don’t anticipate Bronson playing for at least two more weeks after sustaining a right shoulder injury in practice a little over a week ago.
- Not terribly surprising RG Brooks Larkin is listed as a starter. He had a good camp and I named him as a dark horse to takeover for Dominique Threatt.
- LT is a complete shock. Never would’ve guessed Eric Mayes, a converted defensive lineman, would beat out Virginia transfer Grant Polk for the starting gig. We’ll see come Saturday if this holds true.
- CB Deatrick Nichols was seen in the nickel position often during camp and looked great inside. He blitzes with gusto and has the skill set to cover the slot receiver. Senior Mazzi Wilkins, off an amazing fall camp, will occupy Nichols’ old spot.
- Newly scholarshipped DE Greg Reaves will start and he also had a good camp. The DE position was hit the hardest with injuries during camp, so I’m sure once everyone is healthy, There Will Be Rotation.