For his efforts Saturday against No. 16 Notre Dame, USF senior free safety Jerrell Young, who had a hand in two of the five turnovers that USF created, won the Big East Defensive Player of the Week award.
“I mean, it’s an honor.” Young said. “That’s just a tribute to my teammates and the hard work we put in, and if it wasn’t for them, it wouldn’t be possible for me.”
On Notre Dame’s opening drive, Young stripped the ball from Notre Dame’s Jonas Gray on the 1-yard line, causing the fumble that helped USF open the game’s scoring with a 96-yard fumble return by cornerback Kayvon Webster.
Young also added an interception in the fourth quarter, securing a 23-20 win for the Bulls. He had seven tackles in the game.
Young himself had the honor of telling his position coach, USF assistant head coach and defensive backs coach Rick Smith, about winning the award.
“He told me (Monday),” Smith said. “I was in the office, and he came and told me that he got it. I was just so excited for him. (With) the strip and then the pick in the fourth quarter, you know, he deserved it.”
However, Young said he isn’t celebrating his play against Notre Dame last wee too much because the team’s focus is now on Saturday’s opponent, Ball State.
USF lands in AP poll
Following their win Saturday, the Bulls now find themselves No. 22 in the Associated Press poll.
Holtz said that, while being ranked is nice, it doesn’t mean much at this point in the season.
“At the end of the year, we’ll talk about the rankings and all that because that’s the only time it matters,” he said. “Until then, all this does is helps you get a big head and lose your focus to what you’re trying to turn and get done and fall out of it.”
Leveling the field
Father David Toups, from Christ the King Catholic Church in South Tampa, traveled with the Bulls to South Bend, Ind., after being invited by Holtz in an attempt to level the playing field against Notre Dame – one of the most famous Catholic schools in the world.
“I told him that I was bringing our priest to level the playing field with Catholicism,” Holtz said. “We were bringing Father Toups along, and I thought he had a great message for them … he put it to the team as ‘we were going to rain heaven on them that day.'”
Brockhaus-Kann keeps job
After losing his starting punter job to Chris Veron in the spring, Justin Brockhaus-Kann won the job back in time for the season opener, kicking seven punts against the Irish.
“He did an outstanding job,” USF special teams coordinator Vernon Hargreaves said. “He was selfless. Three out of the five or six punts, you get them inside the 20-yard line. Anytime they got to go the long, hard way, which we talk about, it makes it harder for the other team to score. I felt he did an outstanding job.”
Brockhaus-Kann credits his ability to secure the starting position to his new mindset.
“Our position is off of stats, and a lot of guys want to bump their stats up by hitting the ball in the end zone and whatnot,” he said. “But in a close game like that (Saturday), it’s way more important to put the ball closest to the goal line without putting it in so that we can help our defense out with field position.”