Takeaways: USF football continues to fall below low expectations

Jeff Scott has only logged wins against Howard, Florida A&M, Temple and The Citadel in his three years as coach. ORACLE PHOTO/ALEXANDRA URBAN

The 41-3 blowout to Louisville in Kentucky on Saturday was unexpected following USF’s sturdy performance against Florida the week before.

In the first two quarters alone, USF (1-3) was held 28-0 against the Cardinals (2-2). This lead was one the Bulls could not come back from. For coach Jeff Scott, the game was nothing short of upsetting.

“It’s a very disappointing day. Felt like we played very poorly in all three areas,” he said. “We didn’t coach well and we didn’t play well. Bottom line, what I just got done telling the team was we got to take ownership for what we put out there.”

Here is what led to USF adding yet another loss to their record in what was supposed to be their comeback season.

Injury bug depletes the offense

Four of USF’s top receivers remained on the bench with injuries polluting the offense, creating a huge strain for the Bulls when playing Louisville. These receivers include junior Xavier Weaver and sophomores Jimmy Horn Jr., Ajou Ajou and Khafre Brown.

On Saturday, USF scraped up 158 yards for the game while the Cardinals put up an astounding 542 yards.

Since not many receivers were on the field, junior quarterback Gerry Bohanon couldn’t get the ball to anyone, going 9-17 in completions along with two interceptions.

Scott said he was let down by their performance and inability to create opportunities.

“Offensively, we had a drop in the endzone or deep ball, Gerry threw a great ball, had a touchdown and then dropped it and several other drops and then some interceptions and just kind of all built on each other,” Scott said.

Inability to play a full game

Many games in the past, including the matchup against the Cardinals, have shown that USF is not capable of playing well all four quarters.

Despite having possession of the ball for half the game, the Bulls were unable to make anything happen other than their fourth quarter field goal.

If South Florida is unable to capitalize on a full game for the rest of the season, its record from 2021 might translate to the remainder of the season.

Defense unable to support

Along with the offense putting on a poor performance, the defensive side of the Bulls program didn’t do their job either, according to Scott.

“Defensively, we had some opportunities there on our third and fourth down,” he said. “Obviously the quarterback’s a great player and ran the option and quarterback draw and we really did not do a very good job defending that.”

Cardinals quarterback Malik Cunningham finished the game with 113 rushing yards, highlighted by a 35-yard touchdown run in the second quarter to put Louisville up by three scores.

Mistakes piling up

Though it may seem the team itself is not carrying out its duties in an orderly fashion, this season the staff has also been accepting the blame for the losses.

Coordinators have also agreed that some of the play calls were not carried out well on their part.

“We got to go back as coaches and evaluate some of the things that we’re doing and figure out how to put our guys in a better position to go out and execute,” Scott said.

Scott has been leading the program since 2020 and currently carries a 4-20 record with the Bulls.

Now in his third season, it is questionable as to how many more times can the staff keep piling up mistakes until it becomes too much.

Coaching plays a significant role in creating wins, and right now there has been one thing that has been repeated to the media every week by Scott.

“We’re very disappointed today and take full ownership of that,” he said.