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Scott enlists his trust in quarterback Gerry Bohanon

Junior Gerry Bohanon started 12 of 14 games last season at Baylor and helped the Bears finish their season 12-2 with a Sugar Bowl win. USF ATHLETICS PHOTO

The announcement that junior Gerry Bohanon was named the starting quarterback Monday morning brings more than just a faithful asset for the upcoming season, as coach Jeff Scott expressed Tuesday morning.

The team’s strategy for the quarterback competition this season was in complete contrast to the previous season but is meant to show better preparedness as the campaign begins.

“We’ll start getting into BYU prep next Monday and have two weeks to get ready for them,” Scott said. “But going back to Saturday, after taking time to grade that scrimmage, coach [Travis] Trickett and I got together and just looked at the body of work between our quarterbacks and decided that we had enough information to make a good decision.”

While analyzing Bohanon and now former quarterback Timmy McClain, both coaches took into account their performance throughout scrimmages as well as their presence on the team.

Some of the most important statistics to look at when analyzing the position are completion percentage and decision making. Bohanon excelled in every category, giving him the rightful spot.

“Gerry was 80% completions throughout those 10 days and the next quarterback was 67%. So it was really a 13% difference in completion percentage,” Scott said. “We also look at decision making, and Gerry was just really in the 90th percentile in decision making and this is a guy that did not go through spring ball with us in this offense.”

Not only has his performance in South Florida scrimmages helped his case, but his lengthy resume has played a significant role in the process too.

“Gerry is just at a very high level, he’s three years older. He’s 10-2 as a starter in the Big 12 with wins over BYU, Oklahoma, Texas and Ole Miss in the sugar bowl. That’s just experience that you can’t make up and that was part of our reason for bringing him,” Scott said.

When Bohanon sat down with Scott on Sunday night to hear the news, all he could do was grin with excitement.

“I looked at him and I smiled. The first thing I said was, ‘Thank you. Really appreciate it.’ I’m just an opportunist and it’s a blessing,” Bohanon said.

“There’s a lot of guys who want to be in this position as a starting quarterback for a top-tier program. I was honestly just excited and just held my emotions back, but I knew I wanted to go home and call my parents.”

Taking on the responsibility is no new feat for the quarterback, turning a losing Baylor team into a competitive football program in just a year. At USF, he hopes to do the same.

When Bohanon was speaking about his turnaround at Baylor where he pushed the Bears to 12 wins and a championship, he knew his team needed to rally every day of the season.

“It’s really one play at a time, one day at a time. If we can live right there and be where our feet are, everything’s gonna shake out in place,” he said.

“We can’t let these rival games playing UCF, Florida [affect us], but you’ve got to focus each and every day at a time. If you don’t get better today you can’t expect to be on point and play your best game three weeks, four weeks, five weeks from now.”

With the first game of the season against BYU fast approaching, all hands are on deck and preparation is going into full swing. As the pressure begins to creep in, Bohanon is entering the remainder of camp with a unique mindset.

“We can’t blink,” he said. “That’s been the thing. I’m just not blinking.

“For me, I became a starter but I am always prepared … I always wanted to feel like a starter and wanted to be … So for me, nothing has changed. I’m just continuing to be me. I mean, be a little bit more vocal and mature. I’m even more energetic, more locked in. I just need to be myself.”

South Florida will play its first game of the season at Raymond James Stadium on Sept. 3 against BYU at 4 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPNU and iHeartRadio Bulls Unlimited.