USF a Contender in the AAC?
After back-to-back disappointing seasons for the Bulls, Jeff Scott is looking for this one to be his team’s bounce back. USF is hoping they can ultimately get their name back on the map and be a contender in the AAC. Even though the team is still young, the future is bright down in Tampa.
The AAC as a Whole
As the season continues to creep up, the AAC continues to be a conference to watch. Teams like Cincinnati, Houston, Memphis, UCF, and SMU all have been consistent these past couple of seasons. The question to be asked now is where does USF stand in the AAC? Considering the past struggles with USF it’s easy to say they’d probably land in the bottom three once again. With the new hire of Travis Trickett and a bunch of brand-new faces coming from the transfer portal, plus the new mentality on defense, USF could be looking to surprise a lot of people and be a contender in the AAC.
A New Offense
Travis Trickett sent out a statement on May 1st simply saying “Get the ball to the players. Get them in space or quick out on the perimeter. Let your players play.” USF is bringing in a bunch of new faces and is hoping to use their speed to their advantage this year. With quick wideouts be expecting more screens or quick throws over the middle. The run game could be a big change considering the four backs sharing the backfield all have different play styles. Jaren Mangham the 200lb+ back will stick to his trench running ability. Furthermore, Kelley Joiner and Brian Battie will continue their hole-finding adventures to enable their speed in open space. Lastly, Michel dukes a Clemson transfer will add his downhill running style to the playbook. All in all, the team should have a new look. USF will hope to veer away from their standard run First, Second, and Third down. Moreover, expect a mix of short and long throws with some run plays added in. A brand-new look on offense could help USF put up more points which were yet another reason why they struggled last season.
Developing A Defense
Bob Shoop along with Trickett sent out a statement about the defense. “It’s an in-your-face style of play built on the pursuit and never-ending pressure. It’s going to be a full-court press for 60 minutes.” With the Bulls struggling to get to the quarterback last year that’ll be a huge part of this team’s new strategy. USF in 12 games tallied only nine sacks which is less than one sack a game. Shoop hopes that continuous pressure and some linebacker blitzing on third or fourth down could help the defense get off the field more. Bringing in some heavier guys on the defensive line will also help with ensuring the quarterback’s less and less time. The new mentality of the defense could be the missing puzzle piece to this defense. Despite having lots of trouble getting off the field on third down, AAC might not be prepared for the more elusive style pressure USF plans to bring this season.
A New Hope?
With the implementation of a new offense and a more structured aggressive defense USF could be in for a much different outcome this season. As the AAC continues to hold a lot of competitors, the Bulls are only going getting better as each practice goes by. Of course, you would believe most people are probably assuming teams like SMU, Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF are going to be the AAC teams in the top 25. Well, you might want to think again considering USF could do a lot of damage. The Bull’s lengthy attack on offense consisting of plays stretching the field with guys in space could be a surprise for many defenses. USF will open conference play at home on October 1st when they take on ECU. Following ECU in the conference, USF will also play Cincy, Tulane, Houston, Temple, SMU, Tulsa, and UCF. Despite the Bulls having some tough opponents, there is a good chance you could see USF come out of these eight conference games with a record of 4-4 or even 5-3. The Bulls could truly be a contender in the AAC, for a matter-of-fact USF is shaping to have a whole different identity in 2022.