After a much needed bye week, South Florida football will travel to Houston on Saturday with a different quarterback depth chart.
With junior quarterback Gerry Bohanon out for the season on a shoulder injury, sophomore quarterback Katravis Marsh will start his first game for this campaign on Saturday. It will be his fourth career start.
In Tuesday’s press conference, coach Jeff Scott said Bohanon doesn’t have a broken collarbone, but his MRI revealed he would still have to undergo surgery.
Marsh played his longest game against Tulane on Oct. 15 where he had 150 passing yards and completed a 73-yard touchdown pass to freshman wide receiver Dequan Stanely.
While any injury is not ideal, Scott was thankful the timing allowed USF to have the extra week to prepare Marsh to step up for the remainder of the season.
“[Marsh] has a very strong arm, probably the strongest arm since I’ve been here of any of the quarterbacks we’ve had,” Scott said. “This will be his biggest stretch and opportunity since he’s been here.”
Since coming to USF (1-6, 0-3), Scott has noticed Marsh has put in time in the meeting room with offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Travis Trickett.
“I’ve just seen growth in his overall maturity, knowledge and confidence in what we’re doing. Hopefully that’ll transpire over to the game,” Scott said.
Sophomore running back Brian Battie also said the team has confidence in him as they’ve watched him learn from Bohanon all season. Now that it’s finally his turn, Battie sees Marsh being more locked in.
“[Bohanon] also did a great job of being a great teacher,” Battie said. “Showing him certain ways to play the quarterback position and certain reads he needs to make. [Marsh] has been training this whole time.”
Marsh has all the attributes of a good quarterback, according to Battie. He has a strong arm, can throw the ball with accuracy and can read the defense. However, he believes Marsh’s biggest challenge will be getting comfortable being the person in the back field leading the offense.
The next quarterback after Marsh is true freshman Byrum Brown. At Rolesville High School, Brown had a total of 3,703 passing yards and 43 touchdowns his senior season. Scott described him as a very intelligent player who holds himself well and is confident he will have a big impact on the team.
“There could be an opportunity for Byrum to play at some point,” Scott said. “We think he has a really big future here.”
Despite the optimism behind South Florida’s new quarterback room, the Cougars (4-3, 2-1) defense will be the Bulls’ biggest challenge, according to Scott. Houston currently ranks No. 30 in the country for 19 team sacks.
“Defensively, the biggest thing that jumps out is they’re very disruptive upfront,” Scott said. “They’ve got nine or 10 defensive linemen that all are really good players.”
As of Tuesday, the Bulls would have had five practices already to prepare for the Cougars.
Houston senior linebacker Donavan Mutin leads that defense with 45 total tackles. Sophomore linebacker Nelson Ceaser posts the most sacks with 3.5 from the season so far.
South Florida has not had an easy season battling injuries among 21 starters, the most recent loss being Bohanon. However, Scott is pleased that the team continues to have players step up to work with the right attitude.
“The biggest thing that I’m looking for is making sure that we’ve got guys that are continuing to push and striving to get better,” Scott said. “And as long as we do that, I believe that we have an opportunity for success ahead of us.”
USF’s next matchup is against Houston on Oct. 29 at noon in Texas. The game will be streamed on ESPN+ and broadcast on Bulls Unlimited.