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Now that the board has had a chance to do its meltdown and appropriate exaggerations and overreactions, let us take a more serious look at how the rebuild is going. Remember that a rebuild follows specific patterns

First year: There are lots of losses and many of them are ugly, the key is improvement over the course of the year. There are steps forward and backward during the first year. The performance in one game is no indication of performance in the next game. One or more parts of the team will play poorly in most games.

Second Year: There are still many losses but there should also be more wins, losses should be closer than in the previous year. This means you still lose more than you win but you begin to lose close. Younger players should be seeing much more playing time. 

Third year: If the team is having a successful rebuild you now should win at least as much as you lose and games should be close across the board with one or two exceptions (talent differentials here). About half the games should fall into either the "we got lucky" or "dang we were so close" categories. Hopefully more of the former than the latter. Team begins to mature and play should begin to stabilize. The team should be viewed as having a chance to win going into most games with one or two mismatches (either way). 

Fourth Year: Rebuild should be complete The nature of the team should be established and the team should be reasonably competitive for a conference or division title.

With this in mind as the framework for a rebuild let us look at the first third of the season. 

Special Teams: Placekicking and field goals haven't had many opportunities to show what they got. What they have shown is adequate but not great. Punts have been reasonably good, snapper issues have plagued the team but coverage has been good. Kickoffs are a work in progress, CJS believes in deep KOs limiting the chances of returns while CCS believed in coverage, limiting return yardage (which he didn't do too well at). These strategies require different types of kickers and will probably not be resolved this year.

Defense: A mixed bag to this point. The defensive line and linebackers in the 3-3-5 that USF has used extensively have had considerable issues. The D-line is small and doesn't get too much pressure on the opposing QB (he usually has enough time to eat lunch) leaving the secondary vulnerable and exposed. The linebackers have been inconsistent this year. There have been some outstanding play and some that leave you scratching your head. The most positive thing out of the defense is that young players (true and redshirt freshmen) are seeing significant playing time which should advance their development. 

Offense: The offense has also been a mixed bag. The receivers have shown improvement over the course of the year (Williams, Brinkman, and Dukes) when they have been targeted. USF lacks large running backs to use in the running game. While Ford and Joiner have shown flashes they are too small to rely on for consistency in the running game and pass protection which is needed. Scat backs can break exciting runs but they are more change of pace runners than every down type runners. The O-line has been different in every game this year. This does not help in blocking and understanding what needs to be done. It also makes it difficult to see if any development is occurring. This is the same problem USF had last year. Inconsistency in the O-line limits the play calls and potential of the offense. The QB position has been discussed a lot. Accept that we do not have a QF, BJD, or MG. Those were QBs that could make plays. What USF has are game managers. If you have a strong running game this would work out ok but USF does not have a strong running game. It should be noted that the offense has improved in terms of yardage and time of possession. This hasn't translated to points mostly because USF has had long fields but it does indicate that there has been some improvement in the offense.

Assessment: USF has some talent but the talent that is there is limited and lacks depth. The team is improving slowly (much slower than we as fans would like) with more disciplined play (in terms of assignments) but is not yet fully coordinated. If you look at the tapes you will see that on any given play there is usually one player who is out of position or does not know what to do. Against ND and Cinci there were time where multiple players looked out of place or uncertain. This is not at all uncommon in a rebuilding program where players are still learning their assignments and positions. It is encouraging that the one player is different each time which means that the coaching staff is getting through to the players and making corrections. Hopefully, as the season goes on the number of plays where a player does not know what to do will decrease. This is what we should be looking for in the middle third of the season. If the number of players out of position or lost on the field is getting smaller then improvement is occurring. Does this mean more wins? Not necessarily, talent and size issues will not be resolved this year. In the past three games there were many plays where the defense was in position to make the play but did not because the player wasn't either big enough or strong enough to complete the play. What we should look for is improved play from the team.  It should be noted that the coaching staff is using young players. This indicates that the coaches do not have a lot of confidence in the more experienced players (or they lack talent) and are taking a development approach to the season. This would be indicated by a small shifting of the starting assignments to younger players over the course of the season.

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Now that the board has had a chance to do its meltdown and appropriate exaggerations and overreactions, let us take a more serious look at how the rebuild is going. Remember that a rebuild follows spe

Of all the adjectives I can think of to describe you, whimsical is not among them ....

Major factor, IMO, covid. 

Good stuff. Honest assessment. The depth issue is in full view this year also with all the holdouts due to COVID. We have had lots of Defensive players on the field that normally would not be playing, especially at LB

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5 minutes ago, BiggTipp said:

Good stuff. Honest assessment. The depth issue is in full view this year also with all the holdouts due to COVID. We have had lots of Defensive players on the field that normally would not be playing, especially at LB

Is Broyles out with covid or Is he a grades casualty, this absence hurts, dude is a baller, we still suck with him just not as much and he has nice dreads as well.

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Thank you for your perspective buller64.  Good read and in depth analysis.

If your prophecy is correct and it takes 4 years to complete the rebuild, I think most peoples head will explode on this board.

Before the season I was hoping and thinking a quicker turnaround would take place.  But given where we are, I think your scenario is more likely.

Patience is needed which is in short supply.  But I think most reasonable people will be happy with steady improvement week to week and year to year.  It beats panicking and starting over which I believe this Administration is willing to ride with the CJS plan long term.

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2 hours ago, Cornada said:

Why was UCF able to take a winless team to a bowl in 1 year?

Major factor, IMO, covid. 

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2 hours ago, Cornada said:

Why was UCF able to take a winless team to a bowl in 1 year?

Covid is a factor for sure.   Leary had a pretty good program for most of his career just fell apart there at the end.   The cupboard may not have been as bare.  Frost ended up with a heck of a quarterback.  And maybe Frost did some things that worked out better than CJS is doing.   Rebuilding isn't an exact science even in the best of times

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2 hours ago, Cornada said:

Why was UCF able to take a winless team to a bowl in 1 year?

Because they signed Milton and because that winless team quit on O'Leary.

They had NFL talent on that 2016 team.

1 first round NFL pick

1 2nd round pick

3 3rd round picks

1 5th round pick

I'm guessing we don't have a QB on the roster that will get heisman votes next year and I'm willing to bet we don't have a NFL draft pick on the roster either.

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I agree with the general theme of needing to be patient and not dwell on individual game performance in year 1, especially given the circumstances around this year, however for me it's tough to get past the fact that:  

  1. We are in the AAC, not SEC
  2. We are in the most fertile recruiting grounds in the country

It should not take 4 years to be competing for the AAC conference championship

 

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