USF offensive coordinator Todd Fitch said there isn’t a simple answer that explains why redshirt sophomore quarterback B.J. Daniels and the offense have struggled this season.
“That’s the way football is,” Fitch said. “Everyone wants a black and white answer. There were multiple things. That’s why it’s the hardest position in football.”
Questions pertaining to Daniels and the offense continued after a season-low 219 yards of total offense in a 13-9 loss to Syracuse on Saturday.
Fitch said the problem wasn’t just Daniels.
“I don’t think there was one issue on the things that happened. I can’t say he stared the wrong way and misread it. There’s probably two or three things that happened, and some of it was protection based,” Fitch said. “When he had to scramble a little right or left and on the scramble, he may have missed a guy. It may have been a read one time, it may have been just a pure vision thing. I don’t think there is a pinpoint answer.”
To cope, Fitch said the offense must prepare for heavy blitz packages from each team they play because of the Bulls’ lack of depth at wide receiver.
If the Bulls – who rank No. 108 (out of 120) among Division I schools with only 805 passing yards this year – aren’t successful throwing the deep ball, teams will keep pressure on Daniels.
“Everybody has a blitz package. If somebody thinks you have a weakness, they’ll try to exploit it,” Fitch said. “Syracuse didn’t really change. That’s what they did coming into the game. We are not blessed with a lot of speed outside, so people are going to challenge us. That’s football. That’s one of the challenges we have.”
As for Daniels, he said he feels comfortable with the offense, but what’s been part of the problem is adjusting to the opposing team’s personnel packages.
“Everybody prepares different. A lot of teams tweak stuff,” he said. “We tweak stuff as an offense. (We have to) just try to make adjustments in live situations. Sometimes it can be a little difficult. Sometimes you can catch them off guard, and sometimes they catch you off guard.”
Daniels said he has to do a better job of adjusting to different defensive schemes during the game.
“That’s something you have to deal with on the fly. You never know what they’re going to do,” he said. “You can watch film and say they’ve done this all year, and you can get into a Western Kentucky game and they blitzed more than they’ve ever blitzed before.”
USF junior free safety Jerrell Young, who has been battling an ankle injury, is listed as probable for Thursday’s game against West Virginia, the team announced Tuesday.
Young, who started the first four games but missed Saturday’s matchup against Syracuse, has seven tackles and an interception this season.
Senior Mistral Raymond replaced Young, moving from cornerback to safety, but would return to cornerback if Young plays, said defensive coordinator Mark Snyder.
Sophomore RB Demetris Murray and sophomore WR Sterling Griffin are available to play against the Mountaineers, but coach Skip Holtz said he’s being cautious with both … Redshirt senior OL Jamar Bass, who missed Saturday’s game with an ankle injury, is also available … Sophomore Mark Popek started in his place at left tackle.