USF defensive coordinator Joe Tresey said he doesn’t know what to expect when the Bulls line up against Cincinnati – his former team.
Tresey, who was the Bearcats’ defensive coordinator the last two seasons, said he’s never been in the situation of facing a former team.
“First time,” Tresey said. “This doesn’t occur often at our level. You go to the NFL, it occurs all the time. In the NFL, they recycle people. Somebody called me the other day and he said, ‘I was thinking about you and you’re just like in the NFL now. You’re going against a former employee and you’re familiar with their personnel.'”
Tresey said he’s built many relationships in his two years with the Bearcats.
“I’ve had time to think about it,” Tresey said. “I’m very close to some of those kids. Once you get out there, you’re focused on getting your kids ready to play. When the game’s snapped, you’re coaching against the team you’re playing, not particularly a certain team.”
Oct. 15 will be no different, as the Bulls prepare for a game that could have major implications on the Big East title race. Cincinnati is No. 8 in the Associated Press poll.
“There’s a lot at stake,” he said. “We haven’t beaten (Cincinnati) the last three seasons. I’m really focused on our defense, our football team … not what occurred at Cincinnati.”
In 2007, Tresey guided Cincinnati’s defense to be the nation’s best in forcing turnovers and interceptions.
In 2008, the Bearcats’ defense ranked first in the Big East in sacks (38) and second in interceptions (17). He helped the team to a Big East title and Orange Bowl appearance against Virginia Tech.
This year, he’s focused on getting South Florida to where his previous school was.
“It’s funny how we are. I guess coaches are kind of creatures of habit and just adapt to their own environment,” Tresey said. “I’m focused on South Florida. I’m familiar with personnel and some of the things they do. I’m really focused on our team and getting our defense ready to play.”
Leavitt: Pierre-Paul has room to grow
Coach Jim Leavitt said before the season that four or five weeks would be a good measuring stick when it comes to evaluating some of his new players, especially the ones he didn’t know too well.
He should have a pretty good idea now of how good junior defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul is after transferring from junior college.
Pierre-Paul leads the team in tackles for loss, is second in sacks and has the defense’s only touchdown this year, an 18-yard interception return against Syracuse.
However, Leavitt said the 6-foot-6 playmaker hasn’t reached his potential.
“I thought it would take four or five weeks for him to get rolling or see where he’s at,” Leavitt said. “He’s done some good things but I don’t think he’s playing at the top of his game yet.”
Pierre-Paul first made an impact in the 17-7 victory over Florida State, registering three tackles for loss and forcing a fumble, a performance that earned him the Big East Defensive Player of the Week award.
Leavitt said Pierre-Paul has the platform to grow into an even better player.
“I think there’s a lot of room there still,” Leavitt said. “It depends on Jason. How hard he wants to work. The thing that I’ve been impressed with is his demeanor. You don’t know junior college players or any newcomers until you’re around them awhile. He’s been coachable and listens. As long he keeps doing those things, he’ll be fine.”
USF senior men’s soccer forward Zak Boggs was named one of the 10 national finalists for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS award, the school announced Tuesday.
The award recognizes achievements in four areas: classroom, character, community, and competition.
Last year, USF defender Yohance Marshall was named a finalist. Boggs, who has helped lead the Bulls to a No. 3 rank, is the only finalist from the Big East this year.