Coming off their third consecutive conference loss, South Florida Bulls head coach Charlie Strong addressed the media Monday morning inside the Lee Roy Selmon Athletics Center to recap Cincinnati and look ahead to Temple.
Let’s dig in.
.@USFFootball at Temple.— Nathan Bond (@BullsNathanSBN) November 12, 2018
Noon kick on ESPNews.
Series: 2-2. The home team has won every game.
Last time in Philly: Temple won 46-30 behind 210 rushing yards and two TD's from Ryquell Armstead.
Don't look at what he did last week.
The Bulls will travel to Philadelphia this weekend to face a Temple team who played UCF very close two weeks ago then put up 59 points in a victory over Houston this past Saturday behind running back Ryquell Armstead’s 210 yards rushing and an AAC record six touchdowns. The Bulls held Armstead to just three yards on 11 carries last season in Tampa. The Owls as a team rushed for negative-four yards that night. Don’t expect that to happen on Saturday.
Strong mentions the defensive lines lack of size and expounded on it.
“We have to figure out a way to get them bigger,” Strong said. “Look at [Kevin] Kegler, [Brandon] Boyce. You look at our young guys with [Tyrone] Barber and [Rashawn] Yates, and even Armon [Williams] who hasn’t played yet. We gotta get those guys bigger. When you get good on the defensive front, those guys are around 295-300 pounds. Right now, those guys are 270-280. When you’re playing against a fifth-year senior, he’s 300-plus, they’re gonna move you out of there. And that’s what’s happening a lot of times on the runs. We get overpowered inside because you’re just not big enough.”
Listed weights of the players mentioned:
Strong went on to say that the current players can’t get off blocks like former Bulls Deadrin Senat and Bruce Hector as well as the lack of a true middle linebacker—even with Nico Sawtelle out—as a big factor in the huge rushing numbers given up this year.
“If you double team [Deadrin Senat or Bruce Hector] last season then the other guy can make a play,” Strong said. “You can double team them now and wall [off] the other guy. Then when you look at the two [linebackers]. You want a big ‘backer who can sit down in the hole but we don’t have that big ‘backer right now that you can just sit down and that guy can be an anchor for you. Like Auggie [Sanchez]. Auggie was big, he could sit down and take on people. [Nico] Sawtelle and Khalid McGee are more runners so you gotta keep those guys covered up because they’re not big enough. So, you need a big guy who you can sit down and can anchor and a guy who can run for you. If you let linemen get to the second level then they can cover [the linebackers] up because they’re little. So they cover them up and they can’t find the ball because they’re little.”
Lack of depth has been on Strong’s mind recently:
Here’s the entire quote on “we aren’t good enough to replace a player” pic.twitter.com/p7p3IG804f— The Daily Stampede (@StampedeSBN) November 12, 2018
Strong had this to say after being asked about if finishing 7-5 ruins the momentum of the program and if being 7-0 gave the team a false sense of quality:
“You look at a lot of teams, and not only us, a lot of teams have lost three or four games in a row,” Strong said. “It’s not that you want to end up like that, but what we have to do is we have to play together and get our stinger back. I’m not trying to say where we’re gonna end up…but It’s not like we were blowing people out. We had to come back from behind in the Georgia Tech game, look at the Illinois game we had to come back. Tulsa we had to come back. So, we’re always playing from behind and we never got up. You usually find games early where you blow teams out. So, when you blow teams out you can take guys out. Well we haven’t been able to do that because every game has been a game for us.”
Just one week later, it appears Strong has changed his tune a bit on the Bulls 7-0 start. WHO COULD HAVE FORESEEN THIS COMING?!?!
- LB Nico Sawtelle: “We’re going through a lot of tests with him, but I don’t know if he will return this season, but we’re hoping that we will get him for a game. We’ll see.” From what I can gather, it’s unlikely Sawtelle plays at Temple.
- RB Duran Bell: “We’ll get Bell back. Bell’s working through some things, but he’ll be back.” We heard the same “working through some things” with DB Naytron Culpepper earlier this season. But, Bell should be back per Strong.
- QB Blake Barnett: Did not practice on Sunday. Injured his shoulder in the second quarter versus Tulane. If he’s able to practice and play, he will start against Temple. If not, Oladokun and Kean will see action again.