There were several fans who voiced their disdain for the USF coaching decisions in the Bulls’ 38-10 loss to No. 9 UCF on Friday.
Coach Charlie Strong’s post-game press conference was relatively short. After most games this season, he’d speak to the media for around 15 to 20 minutes, but this weekend’s conference was shorter. Media members only had a few questions and the conference lasted about eight minutes.
Some of what Strong said, however, sparked the interest of one former-USF player on social media.
“You look at us, we’re very fortunate to win the seven games that we won,” Strong said Friday. “You look at the last five, when you can’t score, you have to be able to stop people and you can’t give up the big plays.”
Marquez Valdes-Scantling, now a wide receiver who has had a fairly successful rookie season with the Green Bay Packers and led USF’s receivers last season, saw a tweet with a portion of that quote and responded with his own.
“You serious?? Is this a real quote?” he said in the tweet.
But that wasn’t the only part of Strong’s press conference that bothered Valdes-Scantling.
“Just overall, we’re not a very good football team,” Strong said after the UCF loss.
Strong’s simple sentence elicited an even simpler response from Valdes-Scantling, who responded with just two words.
“Pure disrespect.” he said in his tweet.
Valdes-Scantling wasn’t the only player who was watching the War on I-4. Former-USF running back Marlon Mack, who is having the best season of his young career with the Indianapolis Colts, took to social media to critique some coaching decisions on offense.
“Please Run More Outside Zone !!!” Mack tweeted about one hour after kickoff.
Mack didn’t specify an exact play he was referencing in his tweet, but it was clearly directed toward the fact that USF’s offense was consistently running plays up the middle with little to no success.
One instance came after a Nick Roberts interception. Roberts intercepted McKenzie Milton in the first quarter and returned the ball to the UCF 12-yard line — it seemed certain that the Bulls would score.
Instead, USF decided to run similar plays four consecutive times. Each time, running back Johnny Ford was either stopped for a short gain or at the line of scrimmage. On fourth down, the Bulls decided to go for it, but were unsuccessful and handed the ball to UCF deep in their own territory.
USF’s only scores came from a 25-yard Coby Weiss field goal in the second quarter and a 34-yard touchdown reception by Ford late in the third quarter.
Quarterback Blake Barnett wasn’t suited up for the game, but sources say he was resting up for USF’s upcoming bowl game. Instead, USF gave Chris Oladokun the start and let Brett Kean come in partway through the game.
UCF’s own quarterback went down with a well-documented knee injury on Friday, but there has been no official update on Milton. A joint statement from UCF and the quarterback’s family said Milton’s knee surgery at Tampa General Hospital was successful and he is recovering well.
The Bulls finished their regular season a polar opposite from the way they started their season. Strong said the team needs to get better in all three phases of the game.
“We’ve got to recruit big players, we’ve got to recruit players that can come in the program that have a chance to really help us,” Strong said. “You have to recruit speed.”
Strong said he and his coaches plan on going back out to recruit starting Monday. The Bulls will likely have until mid-to-late December to fix their shortcomings before their bowl game.
“10 points.. we scored 10 points… should say enough.” Valdes-Scantling said after the UCF game.