The University of South Florida football team escaped with a win over a plucky FCS Stony Brook on Saturday. As they turn their attention to UConn and conference play, head coach Charlie Strong and a few players spoke to the media in their weekly press conference.
Strong on Saturday’s performance:
"We know this that we didn't play our best football (on Saturday)"— The Daily Stampede (@StampedeSBN) September 5, 2017
Strong admitted as much on Saturday, so reviewing the tape only confirmed his initial thoughts. If struggling versus an FCS school doesn’t serve as a wake up call to Strong and offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert to change their play-calling patterns, then things probably aren’t going to change.
Strong on UConn:
"You have to pack your defense, togetherness and kicking game" Strong said about going on the road— The Daily Stampede (@StampedeSBN) September 5, 2017
Nine of the last ten games against the Huskies have been decided by eight or fewer points, with last year’s 42-27 victory being the lone exception.
Strong on getting RB D’Ernest Johnson involved in the passing game:
"It just depends on the offensive plays" Strong said of getting D'Ernest Johnson going in the passing game.— The Daily Stampede (@StampedeSBN) September 5, 2017
Johnson has zero targets through the first two games. Johnson had 28 catches and tied for the team lead in touchdowns with five in 2016, more than any receiver who returned this year.
Strong on moving the pocket for QB Quinton Flowers:
"The good thing about Quinton is he's good enough to move the pocket" Strong said about scheming roll outs to ease the pressure on the Oline— The Daily Stampede (@StampedeSBN) September 5, 2017
The offensive line has been the obvious weak link through two games and something needs to be done to correct it, either with personnel changes or moving the pocket to give Flowers time to look down field. The one time the offense ran a designed roll out on Saturday, Flowers was almost immediately sacked.
The right side of the line looks out of sorts. Center Mike Galati and right guard Cam Ruff (who should really be playing center) don’t look like they’re on the same page in blitz pickup. Galati was blown off the ball too many times on Saturday to continue to play and expect success running power run plays.
WR Tyre McCants on what needs to change on offense:
"We just need to relax. We're always looking for the big play. We need to take it one play at a time"— The Daily Stampede (@StampedeSBN) September 5, 2017
Collin and I were telling fans to R-E-L-A-X after San Jose State and to a degree Stony Brook because it is only one game, but the offense has only played one complete quarter of football (second quarter at SJSU) and some point you are who you are on offense. Hopefully things change quickly.