The 2010 USF football season has come to an end culminating with 8 wins and USF’s first bowl victory over a BCS conference opponent after two previous unsuccessful attempts. The season marks a success for new Head Coach Skip Holtz after the Bulls were selected by the media to finish 6th in the conference. Holtz took over the USF football team after having great success at ECU leading them to consecutive conference championships before arriving in Tampa.
One unit that was supposed to carry the Bulls early on during the transition period was the offense but injuries and unfamiliarity with the offensive system proved to be difficult to overcome. The Bulls struggled on offense early on before establishing an identity as the season progressed. While the Bulls ranked in the lower tier of offenses in the nation, they showed steady improvement and ended the season by performing very well against a top-ten Clemson defense.
One position that was marred with inconsistency was the quarterback position. USF entered the season with virtually zero depth behind incumbent starter B.J. Daniels. Due to the lack of depth at the position, one of Coach Holtz’s goals was to evolve the offense to where it did not need to rely on the quarterback as the sole playmaker. This was worrisome considering that Daniels showed dynamic dual-threat abilities just a year ago, in a season which he accounted for over 2700 yards of offense and 23 total touchdowns.
The evolution of the offense proved to be tenuous at first as B.J. Daniels struggled to find open receivers and go through his progressions. This problem was compounded by the fact that there was almost zero depth at wide receiver behind senior Dontavia Bogan after starters Sterling Griffin and A.J. Love were lost to season-ending injuries. Aside from Bogan, the Bulls had to rely on two players switching positions to provide depth with sophomore running back Lindsay Lamar and sophomore quarterback Evan Landi both making the switch. Their first years had their ups and downs but both showed increased confidence in the offense as the year progressed.
With the lack of depth at quarterback, the Bulls faced their biggest fear during halftime of the Miami game. B.J. Daniels’s lingering quad injury forced him to miss the second half and in came true freshman walk-on quarterback Bobby Eveld. Eveld played admirably and led the Bulls to their first ever victory over Miami. Eveld was given the starting nod over Daniels for the following game against UConn and did not perform as well although he played well enough to give the Bulls an opportunity to win. With that valuable playing time, the Bulls were establishing increased comfort level at quarterback depth.
The Bulls ended up finishing the regular season 7-5 with a 4-3 conference record and earning a trip to the Meineke Car Care Bowl in Charlotte where they faced a 6-6 Clemson team. Even though Clemson did not finish the season as they hoped, they were definitely more talented than their record indicated and the Bulls were in for a tough matchup.
With Daniels returning from injury, the Bulls went on to have one of their best offensive outputs of the season and scored more points against Clemson than other team this season including the National Champion Auburn Tigers. The performance from Daniels was great. He showed that he can run the offense with great efficiency and it also showed that this offense does not require Daniels to be the main guy but rather a player who can manage the offense while making the occasional big play. This is a far cry from the Bulls’ previous offenses in which the quarterback was relied on to do too much.
With the great bowl performance, USF fans have a lot to be excited about going into the spring. There is now established depth at quarterback with Daniels and Eveld. Redshirt freshman Jamius Gunsby will add to the mix during the spring along with early enrollee quarterback Matt Floyd prepared to compete. So all in all, the Bulls made quite a bit of progress at the position compared to this past season entering the spring. With more competition at the position, there is hope that it will make all of the quarterbacks better and of course that is a good thing