Correspondents - Old
Beating a top-20 team is really sweet, but it's especially so against a punk like Bobby Petrino! After taking care of business against FCS opponent Richmond in Week 2, the Hoos beat a quality Louisville squad for its first ACC win since 2012.
I was out of town watching the Braves continue to wet the bed at MLB-worst Texas (although I did see the UCLA-Texas game at Jerry World) so I didn't see the Wahoos game, but it was back and forth all game in C'ville last Saturday against the Cardinals. Grayson Lambert came back and played very well, but defense and special teams made the difference. A UVa interception set up an early score and a special teams fumble recovery set up the winning FG with less than 4 minutes left. Now, it's off to Provo for a road battle with the top-25 BYU Cougars - yeah c'mon!
The best move of the night occurred before kick off. They decided not to play Doug Martin, either to reduce risk of injury for playoff run (HA!) or keep him heathy so they could trade him (for his own good). After this decision the rest of the game was in the toilet. Almost no decision was good, whether it was not to cover Julio Jones (even with Roddy White not playing) or the decision to keep kicking to Hester. PATHETIC showing guys.
I compare watching the Thursday night game to watching Sharknado. It's just awful but I can't stop watching and following the humor on twitter. Here are the highlights from last night...
Bucs had 217 yards of offsense, gaave up 488 yards to the Falcons.
Bucs were 3-13 on 3rd down converisons vs Falcons 8-11.
We smoked them in penalities Bucs 11-110 vs ATL 5-50.
The stats do not tell the horror of this game though, had to be witnessed to be believed.
@FauxJohnMadden: If you were playing this on Madden as the Bucs, you'd just turn off your system and go outside.
@NOTSportsCenter: The #Bucs are currently on pace to lose 112-0. Although they could cut it to 105-0 if Atlanta puts in the backups. #ATLvsTB
@celebrityhottub: Vanderbilt is already calling the Buccaneers about a home and home.
@jon_bois: the bucs’ center just snapped the ball into his own butthole
@NotKennyRogers: I haven't seen a beat down that bad in Atlanta since Color Me Badd played Freaknik in '98.
The Bucs went three quarters with out a score then scored 14 points in the 4th quarter, but could not beat the Newton-less Panthers. Bucs D gave up 221 yards in the air.
Ugh, QB. McCown was 22-35. 183 yards with 2 TDs, but had 2 INTs. One of those INTs you just have to say, what in the what just happened?!? Queue the Jesse line "Gene, that was the worse play I've ever seen.." Has McClown, I mean McGown played in the league for 12 years or 12 weeks? Good grief. "WE WANT GLENNON!, WE WANT GLENNON!!"
Doug Martin left the game with 9 yards on 9 carries (7 yards receiving). Lovie Smith called Martin’s knee injury as “minor” and Martin could have reentered the game again Sunday. The offensive line? They allowed McCown to be sacked 3 times. In the immortal words of John McKay "anyone who needs a shower, take one"
Gene Deckerhoff welcomes Jesse the Body back to the announcers booth for the 2014 Buccaneer season. Get ready for some "Gene, that's the worse play I've ever seen..." Just kidding about Jesse, but that would be awesome right?
Take away the 2nd quarter and the Hoos pull a huge upset in Week 1. Unfortunately for Virginia, all four quarters count and the offense completely imploded in the 2nd. There was supposed to be no QB controversy this year with touted metro Atlanta product 2nd year Greyson Lambert slated to be the starter under center all year. That changed quickly after two #picksixes sandwiched a #scoop&score. I just had to make a reference to the hashtags that ESPN feels the need to promote for some reason - I actually have no issue with the "picksix", but "scoopandscore" is over the top and it's painful/awkward listening to the announcers use it. I know this makes me sound like one of the crotchedty muppets Waldorff and Stadler, but so be it! Anyway, back to the game, which changed quickly once back-up 2nd year QB Matt Johns (only on the field as a holder normally) entered the game and led the Hoos on a scoring driving with a long TD throw not long before half to make it 21-10. In fairness to Lambert, his arm was hit while he was throwing on the first TD by UCLA's top D-lineman and it wasn't his fault a receiver fumbled inside the UCLA 30 (wasn't down by an eyelash), but he made a terrible read and throw for the 3rd TD and his day was done.
The UVa D played a great game all day long harassing and hurrying UCLA QB Brett Hundley who was coming off a very strong '13 campaign, which was capped by a Bowl win over the VT Hokies (just had to get that in). Hundley has been mentioned in Heisman talk, but he'll need more protection from his O-line to get in that conversation after last week. The one drive that he led UCLA on proved decisive in a 28-20 win. I thought that UVa coach Mike London had lost his mind after calling three straight running plays deep in UCLA territory late in the game, but my Dad tells me the 3rd down play-call was a pass and the young QB Johns misunderstood the play that was signaled from the sideline. London did have a gutsy 4th down play call earlier that I didn't agree with at the time, but they converted and that led to a score. All in all, it was strong performance for the 21 point underdog Wahoos.
Expect UVa to get in the win column this Saturday against London's former squad - the Richmond Spiders, however, it will likely not be easy. Richmond is a strong FCS school that has given UVa fits recently.
Freshman RB Marlon Mack running for a record 275 yards and 4 TDs
Special Teams as a whole, but kicker Marvin Kloss going 3-3 in FG attempts
Defense giving up only 2.5 yards per carry
Offense only mustering 13 first downs
Defense giving up over 350 yards in the air
Defense giving up 44 completions
WCU controlling the clock over two to one in minutes
Defensive Coaches not making any adjustments vs the WCU Passing attack
USF QB Mike White's 9-26 performance
WCU not bringing any cheerleaders on the road
Giving up 31 points to the Catamounts
Pretty light crowd to see the Bulls first game of 2014. There was a weather delay at the start of the game that lasted about 45 minutes. The Bulls came out in new bright Gold helmets. They were so bright, it hurt my eyes at times with the reflection from the lights. It was good to see a victory from USF...its been a while, but judging from how they struggled against WCU it could be a very long year. Standout WR Andre Davis made a nice diving catch in the first half and hurt his shoulder, and never returned. He's easily our biggest playmaker and the loss of him could be huge. Haven't heard anything on his progress. Without the superb play of unheralded Freshman RB Marlon Mack, the Bulls would be staring at 0-1. Maryland comes next. We have a big tailgate party this week, so we'll be ready for the Terps! You heard me Jack Boettcher!
Go Bulls, Beat Terps!
Thank God the 2013 season is behind us. USF had one of the worst seasons in team history. Always a contender in the Jim Leavitt era, the Bulls took a tumble in recent years thanks to Skip Holtz. He left the cupboard bare for new Head Coach Willie Taggart in 2013. It was a new low as the team lost to McNeese State. Actually a normal loss would have hurt, but the beatdown they took on opening night resembled the first Clubber Lang/Rocky Balboa bout. The only thing missing was their QB proclaiming, "you want to be with a real man Adrian". It didn't get much better as the season progressed. Somehow they managed to win a couple games without scoring an offensive touchdown. Yep, thats thanks to the mighty AAC opponents and lack of talent as a whole for the conference. And with that being said, here's the skinny on 2014.
The Offense: After a fierce battle, Mike White was named the starting QB over former Penn State waterboy Steven Bench. White is a Sophomore who had some flashes last year, but not enough to put the Bulls over .500 for the year. Hopefully he's learned a bit in the offseason. Rumor is he put on some weight which should help him considering he sported the lean Caldwell Jones circa 1982 look he had last year. Besides having no running game to speak of and a mediocre Offensive line at best, USF will need to be creative to get the ball to their playmaking Wide Receivers. Andre Davis will become the All time leader in receptions and yardage at some point this season. With Andre getting most of the attention from mediocre defenses Florida transfer Chris Dunkley could be the next in line (as long as Dunkley doesn't get arrested again for hitting his girlfriend).
The Defense: Truth be told, as much as the offense scares me...the defense could be worse. The Bulls lost alot of their impact players from a year ago, most of which were in the front 7. Gone is Tevin Mims, Aaron Lynch, Ryne Giddens, and DeDe Lattimore. Not sure who will replace the boys up front, but look for Tashon Whitehurst and Richard Cliett to plug up the middle. The back four will be new as well, and that might be an upgrade from what I've seen over the past few seasons. Hard to tell how they will play, but having the guys up front pressure the QB will be a must for them to keep people out of the endzone.
Special Teams: Probably the best part of the Bulls team. Kicker Marvin Kloss had a tremendous season last year and was a finalist for the Judd Davis, er Lou Groza Award. So if a game comes down to the wire the Bulls do have a shot of stealing it.
The outlook: It doesn't look like it will be a stellar year. If things go well 6-6 should be manageable and a trip to the illustrious Beefs Bowl could be waiting across the Howard Frankland Bridge. If the offense struggles another 3-9 season could be looming. If that happens Coach Willie and his hand jive could be leaving Hillsborough County for good. We should know relatively soon how good the Bulls are when new Big 10 team Maryland stops by in Week 2. Also an early season game versus the anemic NC State Wolfpack should be a good test for the Bulls. A trip to Madison will be an ugly one for the Green and Gold in late September. Aside from the generic AAC slate, the Bulls do get to host the Tinmen from down the road in Mousetown. A win in this game could be the difference between a mediocre season and a bad one.
Either way, I'll be seeing all of the action live from Section 127 starting a little over a week from now versus Western Carolina. Hopefully they can start with a win and go from there. If not it could be 2013 all over again.
Cue the music....Bulls on Parade!