A season that began with great promise and expectations for the USF football team is coming to an end with little to play for, but fans can take solace in getting a glimpse at the future of the program.
A team that began the season with 26 seniors looking to break through with the first conference title in school history will finish the season year for the future in what has become the least successful season in USF history.
With eight losses the greatest number in USFs 16-year history the Bulls will prepare for Senior Night with a focus on the future, rather than the past.
Injuries and depth chart changes have opened up a chance for the Bulls to play a large amount of their younger talent in the final game of the season.
USF has seen young talent play extended minutes at quarterback, offensive line, wide receiver, defensive line, linebackers and across the defensive secondary in essence, the future is arriving early for the Bulls.
Freshman quarterback Matt Floyd got his first career start Friday in USFs 27-10 loss to Cincinnati the teams eighth loss in nine games and 12th Big East loss in its last 14 conference games. Floyd was protected by an offensive line that boasted three underclassmen, and threw to three more underclassmen at receiver and tight end.
Though the offense looked listless and unproductive for a majority of the game, players that can have key roles in 2013 and beyond received playing time that will make the transition to a younger roster simpler.
Floyd had another rocky start after throwing two early interceptions in USFs 40-9 loss to Miami on Nov. 17, when he came in for an injured junior Bobby Eveld. He settled down as the game wore on, finishing 21-of-39 for 168 yards and leading the team on a 12 play, 73-yard touchdown drive in the fourth quarter to give the Bulls their first touchdown in 10 quarters of play.
Admittedly, there were mistakes as Floyd continued to struggle with ball control, fumbling five times and losing one fumble a recurring error for a quarterback who lost the ball on his only snap against Florida State to give the Seminoles a momentum-swinging defense touchdown.
Its something I need to work on, he said following Fridays loss. Its only hurting the team every time I fumble a snap. Its something me and (sophomore center Austin) Reiter will really work on…in the offseason, Im sure that will be one of the things we hit really hard. Thats just me, and I have to get better. I have to get that fixed.
Despite the errors, getting quality snaps for younger players such as Floyd at quarterback; freshman Thor Jozwiak, sophomore Quinterrius Eatmon and Reiter on the offensive line; sophomore Andre Davis, sophomore Deonte Welch and freshman Sean Price in pass-catching; and freshman defensive lineman Eric Lee, sophomore defensive lineman Elkino Watson, sophomore linebacker Reshard Cliett, freshman linebacker Zack Bullock, freshman linebacekr Tashon Whitehurst, sophomore defensive back Trevon Griffon and freshman defensive back Kenneth Durden on defense provides an advantage for a roster that will be losing one of the most productive senior classes in school history.
Though the USF football team is not ending the season the way it envisioned, losing a school-record eight games and counting and suffering injuries across the roster, the team and its fans have a chance for a glimpse into the future as the season comes to a close.