If the Orange want to keep their winning ways going tomorrow in the Dome, it's going to take a lot of improvement in key areas. Of course, they can just keep taunting USF by calling them Flamerica too. That might work. At least, it would if I were playing for them.
USF has a penchant for big plays and there's no area the Orange need to buckle down in on defense more than the secondary. Lacking depth and the talent necessary, the Orange defenders need to close the gap through hard work, studying tape and taking advantage of the six inches between them and the receiver.
"I can’t crawl into their heads, but I try to show them on tape (it’s) six inches," [Scott Shafer] said. "Everything else is overrated. Stats are for losers. Just concentrate on the technique and say how do I get half a step closer on this particular play, and then we go from there."
Scott Shafer is not a word-mincer.
Of course, you can't look past how important the line play will be to this game either. USF comes in with the toughest line the Orange have seen all season. The SU offensive line has been, well, suspect. The running game is suffering and Greg Paulus has been scrambling more often than not. It's something Greg is ready to deal with:
"They put really good pressure on the quarterback," Paulus said. "They close gaps really quick. So if I throw a ball thinking a guy may have one or two steps on them, it closes real quick."
If he can get the ball to Mike Williams, all bets are off. Especially if Mike finds himself in one-on-one coverage:
Do you relish it when you see one-on-one coverage?
MW: Oh, yeah, I love it. That's what a receiver wishes for. If you can't beat one-on-one coverage, you shouldn't be a receiver. That's how I look at it.
SU will have to go it without freshman CB Philip Thomas. Thomas sustained an unspecified injury during practice this week and will be re-evaluated next week. Other walking wounded players Arthur Jones and Brandon Sharpe are expected to play.
Check out Dave Rahme's game preview for all of the details and get ready. This one could go a lot of different ways. Be prepared.