New season brings new opportunities, Scott says

Coach Jeff Scott said this season could be the stepping stone USF needs, starting with Saturday’s BYU game. ORACLE PHOTO/HANNAH HALILI

USF’s season kicks off Saturday, and coach Jeff Scott still has concerns about USF’s first opponent — powerhouse BYU.

In a Tuesday press conference, Scott stressed that the Cougars’ current roster is the best the Bulls have faced in the last five years. BYU has 19 returning starters and is ranked No. 25 on the preseason AP Poll.

Junior quarterback Jaren Hall is the biggest threat averaging 258 passing yards per game.

“Really talented player,” Scott said. “He’s gonna be a draftable quarterback after this season. [He] throws the ball extremely well and runs very well. He’s a guy that you really have to account for, with both his arm and his legs.”

The wide receiver core is also on Scott’s watchlist. At the top of BYU’s released depth chart for Saturday’s game, senior Gunner Romney, junior Puka Nacua and sophomore Keanu Hill sit at the top.

“Their wide receivers are really explosive,” Scott said. “They like to throw the ball downfield [and] take their shots. They’re a very strong and athletic offensive line.”

However, there are rumors speculating Romney’s availability to play against the Bulls. In an interview with KSL Sports he said he was unsure of his status, possibly leaving a hole in the depth chart.

The Bulls will need to take every chance they can get Saturday with the Cougars offense gaining a possible sore spot.

This also applies to USF senior quarterback Gerry Bohanon who will have his first career start with USF.

“I want to see him doing a great job of really driving the car,” Scott said. “Really kind of moving that offense and directing traffic and all the things that go on.”

While Scott is confident that he checks off the boxes he needs to be able to execute a win.

The Bulls are capitalizing on the word “opportunity” this season. Playing against the Cougars will allow them to see what type of team they are.

BYU, along with UCF, Houston and Cincinnati were all invited to join the Big 12 starting in 2023. All of which South Florida will face this season.

“We’re gonna get an opportunity to see how we match up against them,” Scott said. “We want to make sure that when people look at the next time there’s a chance for realignment, they look at South Florida.”

There are a lot of eyes on USF. A win against BYU would be a stepping stone for their program.

“There’s gonna be several others on our schedule, we’ll have some more opportunities,” he said. “But this is a really big one.”

Kickoff for Saturday’s game against BYU is at 4 p.m. at Raymond James Stadium. The game will be streamed on ESPNU and broadcast on Bulls Unlimited.