As if playing on the road against West Virginia and Cincinnati in consecutive weeks isn’t tough enough, USF, already fading from the Big East race with two consecutive conference losses, is working on just getting its offense to a respectable level.
And after USF’s second conference loss in as many games – a 20-6 defeat at West Virginia on Thursday – Coach Skip Holtz is searching for answers after watching a second straight game where the offense didn’t produce a touchdown.
“In eight quarters, we’ve put up nine points as an offense,” said Holtz, whose team travels to face Cincinnati on Friday in another ESPN broadcast. “We’ve got to take a hard look at where we are, what we’re doing, who we’re doing it with, how we’re doing it. Right now, we’ve got to take a hard look because we can’t keep going the way we’re going.”
Holtz said he’ll experiment with position changes, make schematic adjustments and try to get a sense of who the playmakers are.
After watching tape and letting everything sink in, redshirt sophomore quarterback B.J. Daniels said he feels the mistakes are correctable and self-inflicted.
He threw a costly interception with the Bulls down just 10-3 and the defense playing well. The Mountaineers then went on to score a touchdown to push their lead to 17-3 at halftime.
“We always look at things we can do differently. We’re right on the cusp,” Daniels said. “It was a lot of little things. It’s more magnified when you do lose. You have to move on and give yourself a chance next week.”
It doesn’t get any easier. The Bulls have dropped four straight games to the Bearcats, who are coming off a 35-27 win against Louisville.
The Bulls, who have scored only 15 points in two Big East games, are currently the only conference team sitting at 0-2.
Though the problem could be attributed to a number of aspects, including the Bulls inability to force a turnover in their last two games, USF’s offense is the weak link.
“On defense, we have to find a way to create some turnovers,” Holtz said. “On offense, we’re not a very good offensive football team. We are not consistent in the passing game, we are not consistent enough on third down and, unfortunately, we’re not a big-play team, either.”
To improve, Holtz said he and his staff have to re-evaluate the offense.
“You don’t want to panic because one week you weren’t on, so to speak,” he said. “When you go two games the way we have had as an offensive football team, we have to change something.”