Slow start in San Jose is not a problem moving forward
Despite falling behind 16-0 in the first quarter of last Saturday’s season opener at San Jose State, coach Charlie Strong said the early scare was good for the team moving forward.
In Strong’s eyes, if the Bulls were to have an abysmal start to a game, it’s best it occurred against an opponent like San Jose State that went 4-8 in 2016.
“I’m kind of glad that some of the guys didn’t play well so that we can go and correct them and really push them this week at practice,” Strong said at Tuesday’s press conference. “What was really good too was that the players didn’t feel like they played well either, which is really good.
“Your team feels like they didn’t play well, you know that you’re making strides to better the program.”
The Bulls will likely have wiggle room for another slip-up against FCS opponent Stony Brook –which USF is paying $450,000 to play Saturday – since the Sea Wolves are projected to finish 10th in the Colonial Athletic Association conference.
Despite the extra cushion, USF should be fully prepared come 4 p.m. Saturday.
“You always look for big improvement from Game 1 to Game 2, which we should have (on Saturday),” Strong said.
Along with being the first bona-fide Heisman candidate in USF history, Quinton Flowers will have a chance to make his mark in the USF record books by the end of Saturday’s home opener. He is currently tied with Marlon Mack (32) for the most rushing touchdowns in USF’s history.
Flowers, now one rushing touchdown away from being the lone holder of the all-time USF rushing touchdown title, will have to score on Stony Brook’s defense, which is returning nine starters from a season ago.
In addition to rushing touchdowns, Flowers is currently 68 passing yards behind former running back Andre Hall, whose rushing yards ranks second in USF history.
After throwing two touchdown passes against San Jose State, Flowers is only four passing touchdowns away from tying Matt Grothe and B.J. Daniels (52) for the second most in school history.
Healthy for home opener
Despite a physical camp implemented by Strong, the Bulls remained relatively healthy throughout fall camp and in San Jose.
Besides leg cramps, no Bulls went down in last Saturday’s season opener and three players – offensive guard Michael Wiggs, line backer Danny Thomas and wide receiver Deangelo Antoine – who did not dress out last Saturday, are on track to play in the home opener Saturday, according to Strong.
Defensive tackle Devin Bronson, who traveled to San Jose but never dressed, was suited up at Tuesday’s practice, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
If Bronson plays Saturday, wide receiver Ryeshene Bronson, who is out with a shoulder injury, will be the only USF starter out due to injury.