USF coaches and players aren’t dwelling on Thursday’s loss. The only thing they’re dwelling on is talking about Thursday’s loss.
“The only tough thing is talking about Cincinnati (to the media) on a Tuesday,” said coach Jim Leavitt of the 34-17 loss to the Bearcats. “You want to move on. You don’t want to revisit.”
But sometimes you have to, and a good indicator as to how a team responds after a defeat is the next practice, Leavitt said.
“That’s the first thing you look at,” Leavitt said. “Have we (moved on)? I believe we have going by (Monday’s) practice.”
For the Bulls (5-1, 1-1), the road doesn’t get any easier with No. 20 Pittsburgh Panthers (6-1, 3-0), which beat then-No. 10 USF last year 26-21 at Raymond James Stadium.
Leavitt, however, said he doesn’t expect Thursday’s loss to affect how the team will play Saturday.
“I don’t think it will be a factor in this game,” Leavitt said. “I expect our guys to play extremely hard. Hopefully, we’ll play better.”
A main concern has been penalties for the Bulls, which had 12 for 113 yards against Cincinnati. USF has 50 penalties this season.
“You cannot win with penalties,” said linebacker Sabbath Joseph. “We gave up 80 yards to their offense with penalties. You give them chances to score and extra yards they don’t need.”
Pierre-Paul brushes off attention
USF defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul has only started three Division I college football games.
However, with big performances in those three starts – including a touchdown against Syracuse nearly three weeks ago – the national spotlight is turning toward the 21-year-old junior college transfer.
ESPN NFL draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. recently had Pierre-Paul as the No. 12 NFL prospect on his draft rankings, and ESPN Big East writer Brian Bennett chose Pierre-Paul as his “defensive player for the midyear.”
Pierre-Paul, however, said he chooses to brush all the attention aside and do the thing he does best: play football.
“Attention doesn’t get to me,” he said. “I just go out and play football. It’s not, ‘OK, I’m this and now I have to do something much better or something special.’ I just go out and play football no matter what ESPN is saying.”
His coaches prefer that attitude. The end of the season is the time to discuss player accolades and personal accomplishments – not the middle of the season, said defensive coordinator Joe Tresey.
“Let’s win out – take it one game at a time,” Tresey said. “I’m sure it makes him feel good but he won’t even acknowledge it.”
Pierre-Paul has become a reliable and consistent pass rusher and run defender for USF, leading the team with 8.5 tackles for loss. He also has two sacks and a forced fumble.
“He’s been consistent in his play,” Tresey said. “He stepped up every week and has made plays for us. Hopefully, he’ll continue to do that. That’s going to rub off on some people.”