As sophomore defensive end Aaron Lynch stood on the sideline throughout the first quarter Saturday, the speculation was that Lynch tweaked a muscle in pre-game warm ups.
But after no apparent attention from the medical staff, sideline reporter Alex Perlman confirmed a few minutes into the second quarter that Lynch wasn’t playing due to a coach’s decision.
Lynch entered the game about halfway through the quarter and had little statistical impact in the game, recording one tackle.
Whatever the transgression may have been, it is significant, in light of coach Willie Taggart praising Lynch’s improved maturity in a May interview with CBS Sports’ Bruce Feldman. After the loss to Louisville, Taggart gave his reasoning for the temporary benching.
“Violation of team rules,” he said. “He did something I didn’t like.”
Taggart loves DeDe’s play
While Taggart didn’t like what he saw from his formerly highly touted pass rusher, he praised senior linebacker DeDe Lattimore, who had two sacks on delayed blitzes of Louisville junior quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and a total of three tackles-for-loss for 26 yards.
“I love DeDe,” he said. “I told him I enjoy watching him play football. He’s a competitor. He wants to go out on top as a senior.”
Taggart said the defense is playing well because of Lattimore’s leadership, and was left out on the field too long (41 minutes 23 seconds) because of the offense’s inability to sustain drives.
On the year, Lattimore leads the Bulls with 60 tackles, tackle-for-loss yardage (30) and is one of four USF defensive players to score a touchdown.
As Taggart said he didn’t have a guy like Lattimore on his offense who can lead by example, USF’s revolving door of quarterbacks turned in another sub-50 percent completion percentage for the sixth time in seven games.
Collectively, senior Bobby Eveld, sophomore Steven Bench and sophomore Matt Floyd have completed roughly 40 percent of their passes this season. Taggart has continued to reiterate the poor output is everyone’s fault — not just the quarterback’s fault.
With that being the case, USF is on pace to obliterate last year’s school record of fewest points per game (20.6) with a 14.3 clip so far this season. The insertion of true freshman quarterback Mike White late in Saturday’s game was necessary to find someone who can make plays, Taggart said.
He went on to say White “can make all the throws” and will start on a short week’s worth of preparation Thursday at Houston. Senior running back Marcus Shaw could possibly return and the test will resume as to whether USF can surpass its 133 total net yards (third-lowest in school history) turned in against Louisville.
Homecoming attendance nothing special
The announced attendance for USF’s Homecoming game against the No. 20 Cardinals was 37,782. The actual attendance, which was half Cardinal red, was 21,365 according to the Tampa Sports Authority.
That total is roughly 5,000 more than USF’s first win of the season against the Cincinnati Bearcats a few weeks ago, and about 40,000 less than the attendance averages of USF’s best years, six to seven years ago.
‘She said yes’
With about 11 minutes to go in the second quarter, as former USF football players from USF’s first football team were being honored, former USF quarterback Matt Grothe went down on one knee and proposed to his girlfriend of seven years.
Grothe later tweeted, “She said yes!”