Bulls face challenge of Wolf Pack, long trip
As senior quarterback B.J. Daniels braces for Saturdays game against Nevada, one of the biggest concerns on his mind is unrelated to football getting through a five-hour plane ride.
Daniels, who said hes never traveled to the west side of the country, is prepping with the team for a new locale.
I dont know what to expect, he said. Ive never been to the west coast. Everyone says things about the altitude. But Im not
really even thinking about that. Im just thinking about sleeping on the plane, and trying to deal with being cramped up for a while.
As if playing a team that is coming off a victory over a Pac-12 opponent on the road wasnt difficult enough, the Bulls (1-0) will have to take on the Nevada Wolf Pack (1-0) on the road, traveling over 2,800 miles to play in the famed mile-high air of Nevada.
Weve got a big challenge this week not just in our opponent, a very talented Nevada team, but the logistics with the long travel and the altitude, all those things are things that we need to consider, coach Skip Holtz said. I talked to a couple of pro scouts who played in Denver, and they said It makes a huge difference, we usually head over about three days early, I dont have that luxury, so therell be some challenges were going to have to overcome.
USF will play the Wolf Pack a week after its 34-13 win over Division II opponent Tennessee-Chattanooga, when the Bulls struggled intermittently on offense. They may not have the same advantage on Saturday, when they face the famous pistol offense and the mind behind it, Nevada head coach Chris Ault.
We are gonna go up against the godfather of the pistol.Everyone has implemented in their offense, but (Ault) is the guy who created it, defensive coordinator Chris Cosh said. Theres a lot of options, and every run play they have, they have a play action off of that. Were going to have to control our eyes and avoidmisdirection.
While figuring out anddefending the pistol may bedifficult, the teams biggest challenge will be making their first road trip of the season a cross-country one. The longest trip for the team as a whole was just over 135 miles, when it traveled to Vero Beach for its annual summerpractices.
Offensive lineman DamienEdwards said much can be learned from veteran players on the road.
The best advice I can give to the younger guys is to be seen and not heard, cause you havent done it before, so let the older guys lead you, he said. Youre getting into the routine of getting on the road, guys are not going to know what to do, so they have to get into the routine, and then it will be smooth.
Along with the long travel time, the Bulls have to deal with theissue thats common among all road trips attempting to run plays and pull out a win in front of a raucous opposing crowd.
When youre on the road, you cant hear anybody, Holtz said. Its like, the best team that plays on the road is the school of the deaf because they wont be affected by any of the noise.
USF offensive coordinator Todd Fitch, whose unit showed flashes of brilliance along with inconsistencies in the running game and frustrating turnovers, said he is most concerned with the physicality of the team theyll face after the plane lands.
This team is very physical and strong up front, theyre very well coached, and they do an excellent job of controlling the line of scrimmage, Fitch said, UTC had a lot of speed at the defensive end, this is a little different style, more physical, bull rush you kind of guys.
Holtz said that he doesnt want his team to get too involved in the hype of making its first road trip, and to just be ready to achieve their ultimate goal of each week, to win the game.
Its a business trip for us, Holtz said. They talk aboutbeing excited, you know, Ive never been to Nevada. Well, youre gonna see the inside of a hotel room, the inside of a football stadium and whatever you can see from the bus. Its not like were going on a tourists trip with camerasaround our neck. Our goal is to getback on that plane 1-0.