The Bulls have said goodbye to calm phrases like bouncing back and regrouping.
With three straight losses and another 0-1 start in conference play, the USF football team has been forced into a more aggressive mode as Temple prepares to host USF on Saturday for the Owls first Big East game since leaving the league in 2004.
Theres a lot of urgency, senior running back Demetris Murray said. Were really focusing on winning the Big East, and we have to focus on Temple and take it each game at a time.
After a 23-13 loss to Rutgers, the Bulls have lost back-to-back non-conference games. Though the other losses are detrimental in the national landscape, junior defensive end Ryne Giddins said they didnt affect the teams ultimate goals.
Oh yeah, it means a lot, he said in reference to returning to conference play. Our goal at the beginning of the season was to win the Big East. Not to necessarily win every other game, but to win the Big East. And its big to be going back to that.
Despite the motivation, USF will not be the only team taking the field with urgency on its mind. The Temple Owls are making their much awaited return to the Big East after being forced to leave the conference in 2004 following a 13-year run from 1991 to 2004, in which the Owls amassed a 14-80 record against Big East opponents.
USF coach Skip Holtz said the Owls are sure to put up a fight in a game they have anticipated for a long time.
I think theyve had this circled on their calendars for a while, he said. This is their first game back into the Big East after they were dismissed for the reason of not being competitive. Im sure thats been a thorn in their side, and it is sure to motivate this team.
Senior quarterback B.J. Daniels said the Bulls need to recreate the energy they had a week ago to match the Owls.
Daniels moved into a tie with Matt Grothe and Mike Ford for second place in USF career rushing touchdowns with 23 thanks to two touchdown scampers against Florida State last Saturday.
I expect their best shot, he said. Theyre back in the Big East, were one of their biggest opponents this year and I think theyll come out with a lot of energy. We just have to come out with the same type of feistiness and energy we did against Florida State.
With the Bulls looking at a bye week following the game against Temple, Holtz said a win is that much more crucial.
Youre going to have the taste of this one in your mouth for two weeks, Holtz said. I think its huge from a confidence standpoint going into an open date, continuing to build the program and a chance for you to take some strides forward right now.
The Bulls are among six teams who have yet to register a Big East win in 2012.
A loss against Temple followed by a tough road trip to Louisville in two weeks could push the team out of conference title contention before Halloween. But if the Bulls can pick up a win against the Owls, it may set the team up for a big run.
Senior running back Lindsey Lamar said the Bulls will look to build momentum by doing the only thing they can do this weekend beating Temple.
Its extremely important, he said. Were fired up and ready to get back into Big East play. Were going to try and go into Philadelphia and try to win one game, cause thats all we can do.