USF needs to fix its mistakes before playing Howard, Scott says

Coach Jeff Scott told the team, “It’s not who you play, but how you play.” ORACLE PHOTO/HANNAH HALILI

Saturday’s game against Howard University is going to be “unique,” as coach Jeff Scott said Tuesday, because the Bison’s coach Larry Scott is a USF alum.

“Larry Scott is a great guy,” Scott said. “I’ve kept up with him and his coaching career.”

Larry was a member of USF’s first recruiting class in 1996. He was a three-year letter winner as an offensive tackle.

After his collegiate playing career, he returned to work for USF from 2005-12 as the director of high school relations and offensive assistant. Before becoming head coach for Howard (0-2) in 2020, he was head coach at UM in 2015.

The Bison’s wide receivers coach Lindsey Lamar is also an alum. Howard’s defensive coordinator Troy Douglas and special teams coordinator Vernon Hargreaves also used to coach at USF.

“I know for them there’s a lot of pride for them to come back and have a chance to play USF,” Scott said.

The Bison will come to Tampa with losses against Alabama State and Hampton. While their ties to USF are exciting, Scott sees the Bison improved since last season and the Bulls will have to clean up their mistakes from last week if they want their victory on Saturday.

“They’ve created five turnovers in the first two games, four interceptions with their defense and they’ve created one fumble,” he said. “I think for us, it’s about playing a clean game for four quarters.”

Playing a clean game means USF will have to fix its mistakes and capitalize on the improvements, according to Scott.

Last weekend the Bulls failed to move the ball down the field and finished with only 121 rushing yards and 172 passing yards. This week against Howard, sophomore wide receiver Jimmy Horn Jr. wants to see at least 300 yards from the offensive unit.

“We got to catch every pass,” Horn Jr. said. “We just got to key in and dial in to details [and] watch more film. We’re not gonna take Howard light. I’m playing with a chip on our shoulder.”

Defensively, Scott was dissatisfied with the team’s performance against BYU.

Senior linebacker Dwayne Boyles said the team has been paying attention to cleaning up the defensive unit this week for their match against the Bison. Especially since the coaches were late with play calls, making for messy defensive plays.

“The biggest thing is our aggression and our physicality, tackling for the most part,” he said. “I felt like today we took steps ahead in those areas. We have to keep working to [bring] enough physicality to the field.”

When playing powerhouse like BYU, Scott said it will allow players to see what needs to be fixed. Making critical mistakes magnifies very quickly.

“The biggest improvements typically come from Week 1 to Week 2 and we got a lot of room to improve,” Scott said. “It’ll be our job this week as coaches and players to correct those mistakes to be able to show that on the field Saturday night and that’s exactly what we’ll do.”

Kickoff for Saturday’s game against Howard is at 7 p.m. at Raymond James Stadium. The game will be streamed on ESPNU and broadcast on Bulls Unlimited.