Canales goes ‘Toro Loco’ with offense

USF’s new offensive wrinkle has more than just offensive coordinator Mike Canales excited.

Dubbed as “Toro Loco” by Canales, USF’s wildcat formation has senior quarterback Matt Grothe eager to show his skills at wide receiver.

“I get made fun of by all the receivers about my stance, so I’m trying to work on that a little bit,” Grothe said jokingly at Tuesday’s press conference. “Throw me the ball and I’ll show them how a real receiver runs with the ball.”

The formation puts freshman B.J. Daniels at quarterback, Grothe at wide receiver, another wide receiver in the slot and a running back in motion. Daniels rushed for a 7-yard touchdown in the new look Saturday in the Bulls’ 35-13 victory over Western Kentucky. Daniels gave Grothe credit for the score and admitted the senior quarterback would make a good receiver

“He’s pretty good, he’s athletic,” Daniels said. “He threw a great block for me to score. If you throw it to him, I think he can do some things.”

The Toro Loco formation was implemented to give opponents something else to think about when they prepare for the Bulls, Canales said.

“You think about it: teams only get a certain amount of practice time a day. There’s only certain amount of reps you get to work on,” he said. “We’re trying to create looks and limit what the defense can prepare for.”

Toro Loco, the Spanish translation for “wild bull,” is the wildcat formation that’s been implemented by many teams in college football and has even made its way to the NFL, specifically with the Miami Dolphins. Canales took it a step further, though, adding a wrinkle to the new wrinkle.

In USF’s first attempt at the formation, Daniels rushed for 7 yards as redshirt freshman quarterback Evan Landi lined up at wide receiver with Grothe, getting three quarterbacks in on one play.

“We have our own flavor to it,” Canales said. “All of a sudden there are three quarterbacks on the field. It’s funny, in (Saturday’s) game, (special teams coach) Hendrick says, ‘Hey Mike, there are three quarterbacks on the field.’ There are a lot of things people have to worry about.”

Daniels said he was excited when Canales came to him with the new plan.

“It was an opportunity for me to get on the field,” Daniels said. “I always want to get on the field in any way to help the team.”

Canales ‘ecstatic’ about running backs, praises line

Canales praised the backfield Tuesday, as the unit has been without juniors Mike Ford (suspension) and Jamar Taylor (knee injury) for the first two weeks of the season.

“I’m ecstatic, I’m happy – What else can you say?” Canales said. “I’m really happy for the group. There are a lot of things they’re doing well.”

USF, which averaged 7 yards per carry as a team against Western Kentucky, was the beneficiary of a career game by senior running back Mo Plancher, who had 115 yards on 18 carries.

“I can’t say enough about Mo and what he’s done the first two weeks,” Canales said. “He’s a very unselfish player and just wants to contribute. That’s what he’s done.”

Canales also gave credit to the offensive line for opening up the holes for the running backs.

“Everyone talked about how the line was going to be the weakness of our offense because of all the losses,” he said. “These guys have gelled.”

Kiefer: Anor one of nation’s best

USF men’s soccer coach George Kiefer praised midfielder Bernardo Anor on Tuesday for his performance so far this season, saying he’s one of the nation’s best midfielders.

Anor, a redshirt sophomore who missed the majority of last season with a torn ACL, scored the game-winning goal against Valparaiso Sept. 8.

“To me he’s one of the best players in the country,” Kiefer said. “He connects everybody.”

In 2007, Anor was a third-team all-Big East selection after scoring seven goals in 20 games. Before he got injured, he had five points in just six games last season.

“His first touch is very good,” Kiefer said. “He’s very deceptive … He’ll bait you and this guy will have a lot more time to finish. People who come watch him are watching a very good college player.” More tickets available for USF-FSU

USF announced Tuesday that an additional 1,000 student tickets will be sold for USF’s Sept.19 game against FSU.

Students can purchase tickets for themselves and up to eight guests. Tickets are $52 and the deadline is Sept. 21 at 11:59 p.m.

Leavitt ‘not optimistic’ about Landi

Landi, who injured his shoulder Saturday, is still being evaluated on a day-by-day basis, and his status for the Bulls’ Saturday game against Charleston Southern Saturday remains unclear, said USF coach Jim Leavitt.

Sophomore cornerback Quenton Washington injured his ankle Saturday and his status is a wait-and-see, Leavitt said.

“I’m not going to be really optimistic about Landi,” he said. “(Washington) thinks he’ll be ready to go (today) but I don’t know.”