Bulls must reevaluate quickly during bye week

It looks like the bye week could not have come at a better time for the USF football team.

Though no team wants to enter an off week with four straight losses, perhaps its just what the Bulls need. If playing every week wont get them out of their slump, maybe a week to reevaluate where the team stands will.

Following a 37-28 loss to Temple, coach Skip Holtz said the break may be exactly what the team needs as it hits the halfway mark of the season.

We had a really long camp, he said. Im not making excuses, but we went from camp and straight to the season. This is a tired football team, and I think this bye week came at a good time for all of us.

With games against Big East contenders in Louisville and Cincinnati approaching on the horizon and with the team in a 0-2 hole in conference play any reevaluations and regrouping will need to be done as soon as possible if the Bulls want to get back into conference contention.

Weve just got to get better this week, senior linebacker Mike Lanaris said. We havent been where we want to be and now we get a chance to take a step back and figure things out.

Lanaris and the Bulls defense will need to figure out a way to generate turnovers, as the team has created one turnover a forced fumble against Rutgers in the teams four consecutive losses, and has five total forced fumbles in 2012.

While the defense has managed to strip the ball five times, it remains without an interception this season, and became the only Division I team without an interception after Wisconsin got its first last weekend. Holtz said the teams lack of interceptions has been jarring.

It amazes me with where we are, he said. Were not playing very well in the secondary. Were not challenging the ball, and its not like were dropping balls were not getting our hands on them. Its not like we dropped 12, we havent gotten to very many. Ive never been with a team that has gone this far without an interception. We need to look at what were doing with our players.

As for the offense, despite a strong fourth quarter that nearly bailed out the team against Temple, the unit led by senior quarterback B.J. Daniels has been stagnant at times and has struggled to deliver despite chances to win the game late.

For offense, we need to look at where we put our saddle, Holtz said. Do you put your saddle on your senior quarterback and a spread offense? Or do you put it on your offensive line and gear towards a
run game?

With five conference games coming in the six weeks after the bye week, USF has to decide what its identity is and make any changes as soon as possible, at the risk of missing a bowl for the second consecutive season after a string of seven consecutive bowl trips.