Rebuilding. It's something Syracuse fans know well. What about South Florida fans though? Are the Bulls rebuilding right now? Tough to say that's true considering they coming off their fourth-straight season with eight wins. Still, with the changing of the guard and the uncertainly facing the program, there's some kind of growing process going on with the Bulls.
Doug Marrone doesn't call it rebuilding, he calls it rejuvenation. Perhaps Skip Holtz doesn't call it rebuilding, but restructuring.
"It’s different," he admitted. "This is a team that has won some huge nonconference games against Auburn, North Carolina and Florida State, has gone to five bowl games in five years."
"What is it?" he said. "Is progress 10-2? Now we’re adding Florida and Miami to the nonconference schedule, so is it still 10-2?"
As Holtz notes, the Bulls have yet to make their success translate to conference wins. They've never won more than four games in a season in the Big East. That'll have to change if they want to take the next step.
How does Doug Marrone see the Skip Holtz Era working out at USF? He gives Skip the highest accolades possible...the same ones people were saying about Doug's Orange last year.
"This isn’t any disrespect for the coaches last year," Marrone said. "I’ve only seen them one year, but I do see them running to the football and doing a lot of good things technically. They’re running to the football with more discipline and more hustle, and they have great athletes on the field."
FYI, Dave Rahme says Skip Holtz refuses to comment on the fact that he was the front-runner for the Cuse job two years ago. Would be interesting to hear about...oh well.
For the Orange, it's going to be a day of trying to reverse statistical dominance. The Orange have been flat-out dominated by the Bulls in recent years on the stat sheet. And this year doesn't look different beforehand.
The stats for USF: a school-record seven sacks in its 31-3 win over Florida Atlantic Saturday. Three forced turnovers versus the Owls last week. The No. 1 ranked pass defense in the Big East (161.5 yards allowed per game). An average score for their opposition through four games of just 17 points per game. Daunting.
The good news for the Orange? USF has the worst red-zone offense in the Big East. The bad news? USF has the best red-zone defense in the Big East.
And of course, it's a broken record at this point but injuries continue to hamper the Orange's gameplan. Along with all the ones we know about, there's a few more Orange out this weekend:
Four others will show up as "out" for Saturday’s Big East opener at South Florida when this week’s injury report comes out tonight – cornerback Kevyn Scott, linebacker Ryan Gillum, offensive guard Adam Rosner and tight end Charlie Copa.
The way Scott bounces on and off the injury list, I wouldn't be surprised to find out he's the next one on the "season shutdown" list.