Preview 2018: Previewing and looking ahead to the USF Bulls season with what you need to know.
Preview 2018: USF Bulls
– What You Need To Know: Offense | Defense
– Top Players, Key Game, Fun Stats
– What Will Happen & Win Total Prediction
– Recruiting Class Analysis | Schedule Analysis
– USF Previews 2017 | 2016 | 2015
That’s what Charlie Strong needed to do.
Granted, USF was supposed to have the season UCF ended up throwing down – at least according to most of the prevailing preseason prognostications – but he took over a terrific team, won ten games, came within one huge play against the Knights from going to the AAC Championship, and won a bowl.
All while going through a season derailed a bit by a hurricane.
But considering the expectations, and with the way things ended for Strong at Texas with three losing seasons in three years, there aren’t any reasonable complaints about the first run in Tampa.
And now the job begins.
Strong’s team played the type of defense and had the success he couldn’t find with the Longhorns, leading the AAC in total defense, scoring D, and sacks. But now the line has to undergo an overhaul and top linebacker Auggie Sanchez and star safety Deatrick Nichols are done.
Throw in the loss of the two excellent kickers – punter Jonathan Hernandez and placekicker Emilio Nadelman – and there are a whole lot of holes to fill.
Even so, there’s talent in place. Strong recruited well – the next wave of stars are strong – and there’s enough good parts in place who have waited their turn. The defense will be more than fine.
The offense that was so explosive and so effective has to replace heart-and-soul quarterback Quinton Flowers, leading running back Darius Tice, No. 2 back D’Ernest Johnson, and top receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling.
But the receiving corps is still loaded, there are plenty of good options at quarterback, and the running backs are just as good if not better, working behind a solid line that has to be a wee bit more effective at keeping defenses out of the backfield.
With a good schedule and a whole lot of talent, there shouldn’t be any sort of down year coming.
At least, there shouldn’t be if Strong does what he needs to do this time around, too.