Holtz Continues Where Bulls Began

Ironically Skip Holtz’s first year as head coach at USF will end where the rise of the South Florida Football program began, in Charlotte, NC with the Meineke Car Care Bowl. Looking past the Bulls 7-5 record, it is hard to call the season anything but a success, especially when the team was sitting dead in the water with a 3-3 record half way through the year.

The Bulls have an opportunity to earn yet another “First” in their program’s short history, a win over a BCS opponent. Their previous 2 attempts have not been very kind to them, a 14-0 shutout against NC State and a 56-21 drubbing at the hands (or wings) of the Oregon Ducks. USF will be facing a 6-6 Clemson team that was ultimately a disappointment in the ACC Conference.

The primary question going into the Car Care Bowl for the Bulls, has been who will start at QB. As of last week Coach Holtz stated that BJ Daniels is 100% recovered from leg and thigh injuries, which kept him sidelined the final 6 quarters of the regular season. Daniels and Bobby Eveld have been splitting the 1st team reps in practice, which leads me to believe that BJ will get the start for USF. However, expect Eveld (Or Daniels if he does not get the start) to see a decent amount of snaps in the game. Holtz has been reluctant to state who had the edge between the two, more so to force the Tigers to prepare for 2 different QB’s much like USF is having to do for Senior Kyle Parker and underclassman Tajh Boyd.

Another reason that Daniels will likely be named the starter for the game is defensive lineman Da’Quan Bowers, this season’s Nagurski Award Winner, who has been an unstoppable force with 16 sacks.

With Daniels healthy again, his mobility will be key to avoid the Tigers pass rush and front 7 to keep plays alive with his legs to scramble for the 1st down and make the defense account for one more player.

The key all year for USF to win has been ball security. When USF keeps turnovers to a minimum they’re able to the victory majority of the time. When USF does turn it over, they comes in bunches and puts them in deep holes in that the offense simply can not climb out of. This falls on BJ Daniels and Bobby Eveld to take what the Tiger D gives to them and play smart. The Bulls can not afford to hand Clemson short fields and take away possessions from themselves.

The South Florida defense has been an extremely impressive unit that has been tough to beat all season long, only allowing 19.5 points per game as well as averaging 2.3 sacks per game and an extremely dangerous 6.6 tackles for loss pg. This unit does not need to step out of their shell, they simply need to play the same stout defense that they have played all season, by shutting down the run game to a bare minimum and force a turnover prone Kyle Parker to throw the ball.

This game will no doubt be a close match up with good defense leading the way for the victor and will likely come down to who wants this win more. If there is one thing that has emerged this season, it is to never bet against USF Head Coach Skip Holtz, who has installed a swagger and confidence that has not been seen around this program in recent years. The hard fought close victories over Rutgers, Louisville and Miami should worry Clemson as a different unit has stepped up in each of those games to help USF get the win.

I’m not normally one to make predictions, but with how this USF team has come together and earned each win over the course of the second half of the season. It is extremely hard to go against Holtz and the Bulls in this match up. It would surprise me if USF did not get the victory over Clemson on Friday to top off what has been a successful beginning of a “Holtz New Era.”