When a team is coming off a much-earned win over a team that had kept you out of the American Athletic Conference championship game last season and talked a lot of trash after that game you’re going to have a little pep in your step.
It showed on Tuesday during USF’s weekly press conference with the media. From head coach Charlie Strong to quarterback Quinton Flowers, who normally doesn’t say much, and linebacker Auggie Sanchez, who normally says enough for the entire team.
Strong was noticeably more candid and actually cracked a couple of smiles during his twenty-minute presser. I guess that tends to happen when your team is 4-0 and coming off holding Temple to just 85 yards of total offense.
Strong on the defense and special teams:
Charlie Strong to the poduim: "We created six turnovers, and our kicking game... Emilio was 5-5." "We still have a ways to go."— The Daily Stampede (@StampedeSBN) September 26, 2017
If this defense still has a ways to go, count me in for the ride. I haven’t enjoyed a defensive performance like that in a long, long time. Something, Something defense wins championships.
Senior kicker Emilio Nadelman was named the AAC Special Teams Player of the Week for connecting on all five field goal attempts, setting the AAC single-game record in the process, as well as the PAT’s. Nadelman set the USF single-game record for points by a kicker with 19 and tied former Bull Maikon Bonani with his five field goals.
Strong on the kick coverage units:
Strong: "They're really buying into the special teams." Points out Ferguson, Sands, Kierston Johnson.— The Daily Stampede (@StampedeSBN) September 26, 2017
It seems like every week running back Trevon Sands and cornerback Nate Ferguson are making plays on special teams. Sands had three tackles versus Temple, including molly-whopping a Temple return man. He also downed a Large Adult Punter kick inside the Owls five-yard line. In 13 career games, Sands has ten tackles, all special teams. Sands told The Daily Stampede that he played offense and defense in high school and was recruited as an athlete. He thought he’d be a DB for former head coach Willie Taggart, but once Taggart saw him run with the ball, those days were over and he was made a running back full-time.
Strong calls Sands a missile on kickoff duties and said he does not have any lane control duties. He’s basically Daniel Bateman from The Replacements, just on special teams.
Strong on CB Mazzi Wilkins:
Strong on Mazzi Wilkins: "To see Mazzi where he is now, it's amazing. He wasn't even on the radar."— The Daily Stampede (@StampedeSBN) September 26, 2017
Strong met with Wilkins shortly after he took the job and challenged the junior to start playing to his potential and Wilkins has put in the work to become a near-lockdown cornerback for the Bulls on the outside. Prior to the Temple game, opposing quarterbacks had a 0.0 passer rating against Wilkins, according Pro Football Focus. That was the lowest rating in the country for any DB with at least 15 passes thrown in their direction.
Sanchez on his performance:
Auggie Sanchez to the podium: "I had a pretty decent game. Had some plays I missed..." modest off his best career game.— The Daily Stampede (@StampedeSBN) September 26, 2017
Sanchez had seven tackles, 1 1⁄2 sacks and 3 1⁄2 TFL vs Temple. He also deflected a Logan Marchi pass that fell into the hands of nickelback Deatrick Nichols.
PFF Week 4 - National Team of the Week - Defense pic.twitter.com/wDqzmY2DzZ— PFF College Football (@PFF_College) September 27, 2017
Sanchez and teammate Nico Sawtelle were named to the PFF National Team of the Week. Pretty decent, I suppose.
Sanchez to USF SID Brian Siegrist after his presser: "I think that might have been my best one ever."— The Daily Stampede (@StampedeSBN) September 26, 2017
Sanchez just continued to be on a roll even after Thursday night. You can’t say he lacks confidence, that’s for sure.
Flowers on Temple trash-talking:
Quinton Flowers says of Temple: "There was more talking, those guys were trying to get in my head."— The Daily Stampede (@StampedeSBN) September 26, 2017
This was the most fired up we’ve seen Flowers in a game during his USF career. In the first three games this season, he made sure to get down early on scrambles and get out of bounds. Q looked for contact against Temple, and early in the second quarter he put a good lick on a Temple defender before stepping out of bounds. He then proceeded to get an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for taunting.
Flowers on constantly improving as a passer:
Flowers says he works on two specific things in practice every day. Today was accuracy & hitting receivers in stride.— The Daily Stampede (@StampedeSBN) September 26, 2017
It’s no secret that Flowers needs to work on these things. We’ve mentioned it on this blog numerous times. It’s good to see that he knows what he has to get better at and is taking a proactive approach to finding a solution. Too many times this season have we seen wide receivers have to break stride to catch a ball thrown behind him. If Flowers can fix these issues, this offense will truly take off.
Flowers on life after football:
Flowers says if football doesn't work out, he'd like to enter an academy and be a fireman.— The Daily Stampede (@StampedeSBN) September 26, 2017
I can only hope my daughter marries a man like Quinton.
Coach Strong says Tyre McCants practiced today. McCants posted on Snapchat that he has a sprained MCL.— The Daily Stampede (@StampedeSBN) September 26, 2017
- As we noted on Friday, the typical recovery time for a Grade 1 sprain is three-to-six weeks and for the more severe Grade 2 and 3, that gets pushed up to eight-to-twelve weeks.
To be noted, any type of sprained ligament is technically a tear of said ligament, it just depends on the severity of the tear what classification it receives. If McCants practiced today, the chances are he avoided serious injury but with ECU and then a bye week, it may be best to hold him out.
- Fellow wide out Deangelo Antoine was held out of the game on Thursday but returned to practice today.
“We just have to make sure that he can put his foot in the ground and plant where he can change directions,” Strong said.
- Freshman linebacker Keirston Johnson suffered a chest injury and the team is still awaiting the MRI results from that. (Shout out to the follower who pointed that out to us.)
- Nadelman had his left foot wrapped up during the latter portions of the Temple game and LAP handled kickoff duties during the fourth quarter. Strong said he kicked today, which is encouraging.
Our friend Joey Knight of the Tampa Bay Times reported Tuesday that it was LAP, not Nadelman, doing the kickoffs during portion of practice open to the media.