5 keys vs. Western Carolina

Posted: August 28, 2014 in Football

The past few years I’ve put together 5 ways the Bulls could either win or lose their games. This year, I’m changing it up a bit and looking at the 5 key factors to the game for just the Bulls and focusing a lot more attention on what they key factors are for them to come away victorious. Here are the 5 keys for the Bulls against Western Carolina. 

Can’t have a repeat of McNeese State – Last year was just awful and it hurt walking out of Raymond James Stadium after just the first game wondering what just happened. McNeese was ranked in the upper levels of the FCS and while that doesn’t take the salt out of wound, McNeese was at least a decent team no matter what level. Western Carolina is at the opposite side of the spectrum, they are one of the worst FCS programs around (check the numbers on them). USF won’t be overconfident heading into this game and the coaching staff, from all reports, has them focused in on just this game. So hopefully they will come out focused and take care of business and not let history repeat. The team is saying all the right things so let’s hope they live up to those words.

Just run over them! – McNeese State allowed opponents to rush for over 277 yards a game against them last season. For the Bulls offense, this is a great opportunity to get the young stable of running backs going and get valuable carries for everyone. There is not a lot of experience in the backfield with just sophomore Darius Tice the lone remaining back with any touches in their career. This could be a great game for the USF backs to all get some playing time, get into game action and for the coaching staff to see what they have when it comes to a real game. They should be able to figure out the running back rotation, which is always a good thing with a tough schedule ahead.

Work out the 3-4 defense – The 3-4 defense scares me a bit. Its a different scheme with a lot of moving parts which could be a huge challenge for the young linebacking group for the defense. The unit is talented, there is not question about that, but can they figure out their assignments quickly and how small will the mistakes be? Can they sort out the growing pains early so they don’t come back to haunt them down the road? I understand the addition of the 3-4 with so few returning defensive ends with experience to start the year, but is a big scheme change to add into the defense.

Confidence builder for Mike White – The keys of the offense have been handed to Mike White and its up to him to drive the offense to the promised land. He showed signs last year, but he was doomed from the start. Now with better knowledge and weapons surrounding him, White should be a lot better and a lot more confident on the field. He doesn’t have to throw for 300+ yards against Western Carolina, but he needs to have a solid game. 2 touchdowns, no interceptions, high completion percentage, these are all things he needs and could do in the game. He doesn’t have to carry the team on his back, but White does need to have a solid performance or fans will be very nervous moving forward.

Confidence builder for fan base – The expectations among the fan base are low. Faith is just as low. Face the facts, its been 3 years of misery for the fans. 5-7, 3-9, and 2-10, there’s been little to cheer for. Most fans are looking at 5 to 6 wins as a great season, showing how far our faith has fallen. Yet, despite it being low, faith is still with the fan base. They understand the process, understand how far we all have to go, but the pain is a lot of cope with. If the Bulls come out and win in decisive fashion in this game, there will be smiles, a renewed since of direction, and a lot more optimism. However, if they come out, struggle, and let Western Carolina hang around, the confidence and hope will be even thinner.

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