The old cliché of overlooking an opponent will likely be a subject of discussion among USF players and coaches this week, especially with the highly anticipated matchup against Florida looming the following week.
But redshirt sophomore quarterback B.J. Daniels said looking past I-AA Stony Brook to the Gators, who are ranked No. 3 in the USA Today/Coaches’ poll, is a non-issue.
“You never can (take an opponent lightly),” Daniels said of playing Stony Brook, which finished tied for second at 5-1 in the Big South last year. “It’s college football. “Everyone’s on scholarship. Anybody can beat anybody. Right now, we’re just focusing on us and the things we can do to get better.”
Last year, the Bulls discovered the challenges openers can present, when it took them three quarters to pull away from I-AA Wofford.
USF coach Skip Holtz said if the Bulls struggle, it won’t be because of complacency, but rather lapses that can occur from not playing a game in eight months.
“I can’t imagine we’ve waited eight months for this game and aren’t going to be excited or going to look past it,” Holtz said. “The thing that happens in openers more is the mistakes that are made. I think a lot more games are (given away) in the opening game of the year than won.”
Holtz is certainly familiar with how underdogs can perform in openers, as his East Carolina team knocked off then-No.17 Virginia Tech in the first game of the 2008 season.
“Anybody can beat anybody on any given day, and that’s been proven week-in and week-out in college football around the country,” he said. “If a team shows up and if you turn the ball over and don’t play with a lot of passion, you can get beat. I don’t care who your opponent is.”
Volleyball players honored
Sophomore Maija Strazdina, who had a career-high 12 kills in USF’s 3-0 win against FAMU on Sunday, was named to the American Volleyball Scouting Report’s Global Player of the Week on Monday.
Strazdina, who also had 10 digs, was named to the Florida State Invitational All-tournament team, along with teammate Andrea Rodriguez Gomez, a freshman. Gomez had 14 kills and six blocks in two matches this weekend.