Five Keys: USF vs. UCONN

Justin K. Aller

Six game losing streak, it hurts to say it, but the truth is all too real for the USF fans. The team has lost nearly every way and especially in the closing seconds of the last three games. As the Bulls try to salvage something this season, there are key points they must address in order to get a win, starting with UCONN.

1. Find consistency in the running game: With injuries to the offensive line (Mark Popek and Danous Estenor both out for this game) and the season ending injury to senior Lindsey Lamar, the Bulls will need to find someone to pick up the slack that is left after Lamar went down (he was really hitting his stride). While Murray will be the starter, it will be on Marcus Shaw to be the change-of-pace back, but has to protect the ball when he touches it. Willie Davis (still has a nagging ankle injury) and Bradley Battles (hardly stepped on the field) will get chances as well to do something with the opportunity in front of them.

2. Overcome the injuries: The Bulls are battered and bruised right now as they head into this game. Joining Lindsey Lamar on the injured list is senior tight end Evan Landi (ankle) and senior wide receiver Victor Marc (knee) who have both been ruled out for the game on Saturday. Mark Popek and Danous Estenor are out on the offensive line and defensive Ryne Giddins, wide receivers Andre Davis (knee/leg), and D'vario Montgomery are all questionable as well for the game. This means that the younger players such as Brynjar Gudmundsson who filled in last week, will have to step to the forefront and contribute at a high level to help this team try to overcome this losing streak.

3. Focus on the task at hand: The media and fans have been talking the last few weeks about the job security of Skip Holtz and what kind of changes will or won't be made in the off season. Even with all the negative energy that is floating around the campus, the Bulls players have to remain focused on the task at hand. It could be easy for the team to come out flat, defeated, and not give it everything they have, but it will be on the seniors to keep it together. USF needs to keep it together and just finish, especially in the closing minutes of the game.

4. Can't remain status quot: Coach Holtz said after the last minute defeat last week that things would not remain status quot, however, after all the talk, nothing has changed. The coaching assignment are the same, no major depth chart moves have been made (aside from due to injuries), and the team has been preparing the same. However, despite the lack of action on the outside, something has to change. The coaching staff has to adjust to the game, they have to make adjustments in the game, and they have to be accountable. If the coaching staff continues to make the same blunders like they have done in the past, the hot seats will continue to heat up into an inferno.

5. Once again, pride: I said it last week, it comes all down to pride. The team has been hearing the negative press all week, knows it has lost six straight games, and knows that all the dreams they had coming into the season are now gone. However, they have their pride. The seniors want to leave a lasting legacy to the younger players and the young players that are stepping up want to show and don't want to taste defense anymore. Hopefully this will lead to something positive happening for once.
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