So I'm a regular Sirius XM ESPNU radio listener. This morning The First Team (Taylor Zarzour and Greg McElroy) had Dan Orlovsky on the phone talking about UCF and the CFB Playoff. They touched on their matchup with us on Friday and then Taylor asked Dan about the Bulls and what's happened to us. Dan provided a pretty solid hot take IMO and I transcribed it below to share with you all:
Taylor Zarzour - Speaking of USF Dan, what happened to this team? This was a team that early in the season, they knocked off Georgia Tech, they beat Illinois, I know that they had a lot of roster turnover in Strong’s 2nd year, Blake Barnett’s thrown a bunch of INT’s, the defense has struggled. What’s going on with the Bulls right now?
Dan Orlovsky - Yeah so offensively, they’re just, they’re in my opinion, in watching them on tape, they’re still stuck in 8 years ago. I mean ALL they do is tempo, and they just, there’s no emphasis offensively to be just like “ok let’s get Barnett a couple of completions, let’s get him an easy throw.” “Ok how can we help some of our receivers Salomon and McCants, how can we help those guys in man coverage?” Because all they do, the great majority of all they do is just take go routes, whether they’re inside fades from the slot or go routes on the outside… kind of those switch release concepts. You know it’s just very simplified and defenses have gone “ok these are the 3 or 4 things they do in their pass game and we are just going to force them to do 45 yard completions down the field on a constant basis,” and they haven’t been able to hit them so that’s been a big part about what’s gone on with their offense. They just get themselves, you know on 1st down they’ll take a go shot, and on 2nd down they’ll run the ball and get 2 or 3 yards and then its 3rd and 7. They live in 3rd and long, I mean they live in 3rd and long and then they’ll just go throw deep balls again and that’s really what’s hindered their offense and they don’t get into any kind of rhythm, they don’t open their playbook up because they don’t get 1st downs.
You know defensively, they’ve really been hampered by the loss of the MLB Sawtelle. You know he got hurt so they moved a DE in to the MLB position. I watched them early, I had them against Tulsa and I was like “this defense is pretty good, they can run to the football, they play coverage well.” It just seems like they miss the MLB Sawtelle so much with their communication because guys get out of position. But they do some things well, guys just get out of position and it just doesn’t look like a team that is in tune with what they are doing defensively. But I will say this, they are asked to do a ton because of the offensive inefficiency. I mean there’s a lot of pressure on them to play well. You know they’ve lost 4 in a row, but 3 out of those 4, excluding the handling by Houston a month ago, they were up 17 last week on the road in Temple, they went into Cincinnati and were up against Cincinnati, it’s just they get into the 2nd half and have played so many plays on defense because their offense is struggling so much and they get kind of worn out.