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The BULLS will actually be BETTER this year: an analysis


BULLZ

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Reading over some of the previews and taking in inputs from other fans has gotten me thinking.

Under a somewhat flawed assumption it is presumed we are going to be WORSE off this year.

I am going to try and propose a rational argument as to how we could be actually be BETTER this year.

First lets examine our supposed "weak points" heading into next year ( and pay attention), then i will argue why we could be BETTER

We have NO secondary.

- I cant remember how many times last year teams would convert on us on 3rd and 15 or 3rd and 20 or we'd get beat by the deep pass, fact of the matter is, even WITH nate allen and murphy our secondary was bein taken advantage of. Wether that is due to defensive schemes by the previous coaches we will have to just find out. But considering just player aptitude alone, with Webster ( a rising talent) having a solid year under his belt and the hopeful talent of T-rex panning out, along with one other unproven DB, we could have very little if minimal dropoff from last season. This is not to say we are going to be GOOD in the secondary, but that there wont be DROPOFF, which is arguing as to how our team will not be WORSE due to this position.

Nate Allen will def be missed, he was an outsanding safety and there will be dropoff but we have legit ballplayers with Jacquez Jenkins (who tore his ACL and was out but now stands to make a name for himself) , Jerrell Young, Jon Lejiste, Mistral Raymond, players who are ready to make an impact.

We have NO receivers.

Mitchell has left the building. AJ Love has left the building (temporarily). So where do we stand? First, we have to remember our offensive scheme is no longer going to be receiver loaded with 3 4 on the field at one time. Holtz has an X and a Z along with a tight end and this will play a huge role as to how our lack of depth at wr will not hinder us as much. Starting with TE Holtz is bring in Gidrey from ECU who is a proven player in his system. Someone who knows the ins and outs and will contribute RIGHT AWAY, along with virgin who has been sad to be very athletic and needs to be utilized on the field. As far as receivers we have more to be excited about than most give credit for. Dontavia Bogan after the spring stands to have a breakout year, we have a 6-8 WR TJ Knowles ( a matchup NIGHTMARE) coming in from Saddlebrook , who put up close to 1000 yrd seasons his sr yr of HS and his fresh yr of college, averaging about 20 ypc, we have Lindsay Lamar, a threat anytime in space ( and you know Holtz is going to take advantage of his speed with designed plays), along with Griffin who has been great and has about 6-8 weeks of recovery time from his fractured ankle ( if you read this hope youre gettin better bro) , and Landi, Deonte Welch, Victor Marc, all who have significant and REAL possibilty to step up and contribute. We might also be getting Donald Bowens from NC state for a year, someone who could step in right away. So the receiving corps is not as weak as most assume it to be.

The RB core

I have NO idea why this is being stated as a reason why we will be worse next year. Plain and Simple. Every scenario we stick with we stand to be better.

Our O-line has 1 yr solid exp- WHICH IS HUUUUUUGE for better RB performance

Plancher- He will be in his 6th year, more exp, better RB

Mike Hayes- JC transfer , gamebreaker, one of TOP RBs in JUCO ( and RB position translates very well to D1) ( see andre hall)

Skip Holtz- no more BJ fun for your life offense= RBs in better position to make plays

Gidrey-- TE/FB transfer from ECU is supposed to be a hell of a blocker and someone who already knows the system, you can watch highlights of him on youtube.

And for the love of God everyone and their mom knows how easy our offense was to read this year, i would be sitting at home callin out the next play. Our whole offense was either, give the ball to Plancher, or BJ do your magic.

And of course i have missed reasons but i just listed the top 3 reasons why were are going to be worse off as Ive been hearing them. Feel free to let me know your opinion of our weaknesses.

NOW WHY WE WILL BE BETTER.

The key to understanding we will be better , is realizing what BETTER actually is. Being a better team to most means winning more games, BUT in reality it is really just about being a more PRODUCTIVE, SOUND, BALANCED football team.

Will we win more games than last year? It is possible. If we dont does it make our team worse? HHHHEEEEECKKKKK NO!

Its apples and bananas. Our schedule this year is a lot more difficult than last years so to simply say  losing more this year makes our team worse is FALSE.

THE RUNDOWN

OFFENSE

BJ is more experienced= better year

O Line is more experienced= even better year

Holtz Scheme>Leavitt scheme = way way better year ( just an opinion so dont jump down my throat, but watch what Holtz did against Arkansas last year almost upsetting them, a team that ALMOST upset Florida, watch what he did to them, with much less talent to work with)

RBs- new additions, more exp= better year

WRs= The potential is there= same kind of year

TE- Gidrey, had more catches last year than our entire TE core combined, child of Holtz offense, great blocker= better year at TE

DEFENSE

DT- T-Mac (NFL prospect), McCaskill, both with more exp and ESPNU150 recruit Todd Chandler = better year

DE- Even with the loss of JPP and Selvie, we are so loaded here it is insane ( and actually makes me mad cuz we need to ulitize all this talent somehow!)

- Craig Marshall (expecting a breakout year), Bedford (started over JPP for beg of season), Ryne Giddins excellent player when healty, along with JUCO 4 star Claude Davis, Patrick Hampton, Julius Forte, ALL cream of the crop players. = GREAT year at DE once again

LB- lost Kion Wilson but have Jacquain Williams, Barrington, Lattimore, Joseph who everyone expects big things from this year

DB- stated above= same year maybe a little dropoff

Safety- some dropoff depending on how players adjust

PRs- same maybe a little better with Bogans Exp or if Trex somehow contributes

Kickers- both great kickers in my opinion, becomin more clutch and more consistent with time.

So there you have it my two cents on why we will be a BETTER team than last year.

Not saying we will win more, but I promise you we will see BETTER things on the field, BETTER discipline with penalties, BETTER playcalling, and regardless of our record at the end of the season, I somehow feel that a lot less of us are going to have that empty feeling of what COULD HAVE been during the middle of the season, and start seeing what we are STARTING to be become.

GO BULLS!

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Very optimistic good post! +1 And I can't wait. Youngest USF Season ticket holder awaaaaaaaaay

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I feel you are severely underrating the ability of Nate Allen to hold the secondary together and direct traffic back there.  Nate was capable of hiding the mistakes of others due to his ability and experience. 

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Love the optimism. Love the positive take.

Not trying to rain on the parade here, but this is the big time. Success is measured in wins and losses no matter how ugly it may be. I think all the things you are stating will lead to a better year in 2011.

Just addressing a few of our points: If Mitchell stays, Love and Griffin don't get hurt Bogan is probably your number 4 receiver. Now he is the number 1 go to guy. I loved all the amazing catches he had as a soph. I just don't agree that a guy that would have been our #3 or #4 WR and is now (unless Bowens gets in) is our only WR with any real playing time under his belt can lead a WR corp to be considered better than last year.

Holtz scheme on offense may be different, but will it be better with this group of players. Leavitt recruited his offensive lineman to be used in the spread. Experienced or not, are our guys big enough and good enough blockers to give BJ time in the pocket?  What about opening holes for our RBs. Sure didn't look that way against UM, Rutgers or Pitt  It may take a year or 2 recruiting to get the players to fit Holtz scheme.

My concern with the amount of youth we have on the field this year is maturity level and physical strength and size. I think back to 2004 when we had so many young guys that really built the foundation for the pretty good teams we had the last few years. On defense those guys were better athletes and more knowledgeable football players than we had here before that time. On defense they still made mistakes. A lot of times they were in position to make plays, but would be blown off the ball or the point of impact by bigger stronger guys. The following couple of years, when they matured physically the team excelled. 

As I said in the beginning, being a better team at this level is measured by wins and losses. If we fail to make a bowl, but are close in our losses, I am sorry, but that makes us a worse team than the year before. I'll take the win against Auburn, FSU, KU no matter how ugly they were over almost winning the games you stated.

This team is going through a transformation and we will have to be patient for a year. I like some of the recent moves Holtz has been making, but I still expect a difficult year this year with success in subsequent years.

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84, i agree with much of what you said, but i think our schedule will give the young Bulls a good opportunity to get their learning out of the way before the games that matter begin.

4-1 going into BE play and a 'cuse home opener certainly sets the table for a possible second half without a collapse.  3 BE wins at home and steal a road win equals a very good start for CSH

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Anythings possible. The main question will be the WR position. Will they develop in time when the season start. The defense will be fine. The key losses that they must replace is Nate Allen, JPP, and Kion Wilson. The CB position will be better with the loss of "Toast" Murphy. If T-Rex is the real thing. And Selvie haven't been the same since his ankle injury a few years back. So if Giddens and/or Davis steps up with Marshell, they'll be better. Sometimes new voices and leadership does help with the turn over with a team. Remember the 2002 Buccaneers season.

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Love the optimism. Love the positive take.

Not trying to rain on the parade here, but this is the big time. Success is measured in wins and losses no matter how ugly it may be. I think all the things you are stating will lead to a better year in 2011.

Just addressing a few of our points: If Mitchell stays, Love and Griffin don't get hurt Bogan is probably your number 4 receiver. Now he is the number 1 go to guy. I loved all the amazing catches he had as a soph. I just don't agree that a guy that would have been our #3 or #4 WR and is now (unless Bowens gets in) is our only WR with any real playing time under his belt can lead a WR corp to be considered better than last year.

Holtz scheme on offense may be different, but will it be better with this group of players. Leavitt recruited his offensive lineman to be used in the spread. Experienced or not, are our guys big enough and good enough blockers to give BJ time in the pocket?  What about opening holes for our RBs. Sure didn't look that way against UM, Rutgers or Pitt  It may take a year or 2 recruiting to get the players to fit Holtz scheme.

My concern with the amount of youth we have on the field this year is maturity level and physical strength and size. I think back to 2004 when we had so many young guys that really built the foundation for the pretty good teams we had the last few years. On defense those guys were better athletes and more knowledgeable football players than we had here before that time. On defense they still made mistakes. A lot of times they were in position to make plays, but would be blown off the ball or the point of impact by bigger stronger guys. The following couple of years, when they matured physically the team excelled. 

As I said in the beginning, being a better team at this level is measured by wins and losses. If we fail to make a bowl, but are close in our losses, I am sorry, but that makes us a worse team than the year before. I'll take the win against Auburn, FSU, KU no matter how ugly they were over almost winning the games you stated.

This team is going through a transformation and we will have to be patient for a year. I like some of the recent moves Holtz has been making, but I still expect a difficult year this year with success in subsequent years.

You bring up valid points though i do disagree with some. To the pundits and to the media "success" is measured by wins yes, but take a team like uconn who lost 5 games last year by a COMBINED 16 POINTS. They lost 3 games by 2 points, had just those 3 gone the other way UCONN wouldve been 11-2 and most likely would have beebn in a BCS game and also would been looked at in an entirely different light. Now come next year people are going to be surprised when UCONN starts winning and theyre gonna wonder where all this "success" came from. The point i was making is next year we are going to play BETTER football PERIOD and wether than means Ws or not, real fans and students of the sport dont truly care when they see their team evolving and constantly getting better unlike the rollercoaster crap weve been used to. I would much rather see us lose competitively to big teams like Florida and Miami but still compete than get blown out all the time and here and there pull an upset.

Also i dont understand how Mitchell staying would have definitely prevented those injuries but that is all up in the air. And as great as he was, he only barely cracked 700 yards his sr year ( which was also partly due to injury). But my main point, and more intuitively, my BELIEF, growing up around the sport and playing it i believe receivers being a skill position are just a instict/second nature you got it or you dont kinda position. My second belief is that our receivers are florida players, and florida players are a different breed. Florida players are ball players, they can play the game, dont matter how many stars you got or what your 40 is or whatever, ball players make it happen. And personally, i see that quality in our receivers. On a more measureable note, our receivers recently have always been either for possession ( short catches) or the deep threat, never the make you miss, nasty breakin angles guys. Our receiving core currently can do those things. they might not be big names or whatever, but like i said theyre students of the sport, ball players, and they can catch and run just like anybody else.

As far as our O line i agree with you about us needing bigger bodies. The point i was making was simply that we would be BETTER than last year not that we would be great, my whole post has been about us improving overall, not winning any champiionships or anything like that. I am however excited about the depth and recruits we are acquiring for the O Line, a couple of really big guys like Kaufman and Eatmon, 6-8 335, and 6-6 335 respectively.

i imagine we will be seeing a lot of options, bootlegs, screens, things that like Holtz said augments our strengths and hide our weaknesses.

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The point I was making about WR is that if Mitchell stays for his senior year and IF Love and Griffin don't get hurt then Bogan is probably your #4 WR. How is a #4 WR elevated to #1 by circumstances going to lead us to a better WR corp.

Personally, I don't buy into the whole "because we have FL players bs". Florida produces a lot of superb, fast athletes. The thing that separates the fast, good athlete from superior football players at the WR is the ability to get off the line, run proper routes, the ability to read and adjust the route and actually catch the ball. Besides Hester and Mitchell we have had maybe one or two other guys at the position that could do that consistently. Too bad Hester got hurt. In my opinion the receiver with the best all around ability to ever play here believed too much of his own hype, thought it he was good enough to get by so he read the newspaper during meeting got kicked off the team and I believe was just recently released from jail.

You talked about UCONN losing all those games by close margins. Then you went on to make my point. If they would have won they would have been in a BCS bowl. That is success. They didn't win so it was an average year. Are people really going to question where they came from?  They were co conference champions 2 years ago.

I really hope all the optimism is realized. I am just going into this season with low expectations. It would have been the same regardless of who the coach was. I like the track that Holtz has the program by landing some interesting prospects. There are just way too many question marks all around with lots of young, unproven players to realistically predict to see a better football team this year. Young guys make mistakes. They are out of position, they make the wrong reads, they don't adjust. It is asking a lot of so many guys that haven't played a lot of football at this level to play at better than ball with this schedule. Again, who ya got that has played so much BCS level ball? Plancher then no one. Bogan then no one (and now that is covering 3 positions). Ok good, we Gidrey. That will be helpful. On D, Bedford has played sparingly, Giddins has what? A few snaps before getting hurt. Davis no snaps at this level, Williams, Barrington, Lanaris all have limited experience. Say what you want about Murphy, but you aren't going to replace that much experience and better for it with a true freshman. I actually pretty good about our safety spots.

I think this is the best bunch of both athletes and young football talent we have ever had here. I just don't think you can ignore so much inexperience on the field at one time.

It will be fun to watch these guys develop together.

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The point I was making about WR is that if Mitchell stays for his senior year and IF Love and Griffin don't get hurt then Bogan is probably your #4 WR. How is a #4 WR elevated to #1 by circumstances going to lead us to a better WR corp.

Personally, I don't buy into the whole "because we have FL players bs". Florida produces a lot of superb, fast athletes. The thing that separates the fast, good athlete from superior football players at the WR is the ability to get off the line, run proper routes, the ability to read and adjust the route and actually catch the ball. Besides Hester and Mitchell we have had maybe one or two other guys at the position that could do that consistently. Too bad Hester got hurt. In my opinion the receiver with the best all around ability to ever play here believed too much of his own hype, thought it he was good enough to get by so he read the newspaper during meeting got kicked off the team and I believe was just recently released from jail.

You talked about UCONN losing all those games by close margins. Then you went on to make my point. If they would have won they would have been in a BCS bowl. That is success. They didn't win so it was an average year. Are people really going to question where they came from?  They were co conference champions 2 years ago.

I really hope all the optimism is realized. I am just going into this season with low expectations. It would have been the same regardless of who the coach was. I like the track that Holtz has the program by landing some interesting prospects. There are just way too many question marks all around with lots of young, unproven players to realistically predict to see a better football team this year. Young guys make mistakes. They are out of position, they make the wrong reads, they don't adjust. It is asking a lot of so many guys that haven't played a lot of football at this level to play at better than ball with this schedule. Again, who ya got that has played so much BCS level ball? Plancher then no one. Bogan then no one (and now that is covering 3 positions). Ok good, we Gidrey. That will be helpful. On D, Bedford has played sparingly, Giddins has what? A few snaps before getting hurt. Davis no snaps at this level, Williams, Barrington, Lanaris all have limited experience. Say what you want about Murphy, but you aren't going to replace that much experience and better for it with a true freshman. I actually pretty good about our safety spots.

I think this is the best bunch of both athletes and young football talent we have ever had here. I just don't think you can ignore so much inexperience on the field at one time.

It will be fun to watch these guys develop together.

You are right about the lack of real gametime experience in a lot of positions. But like SRQ said its good that we have a couple games to break them in a little before BE play. As far as the Florida players, ive played football, have seen a lot of people play across the country, and its just my belief about a certain aspect of players from florida. a certain knack for the sport. but like i said just a belief no need to get all defensive. And the UCONN example i guess you just dont get my point, i was simply illustrating that a total of 6 points in one season, gave everyone reason to to define UCONN as "successful" or not when everyone knows real sucess is measured by progress, growth and the strides made in practice. You think those UCONN players consider themselves an "unsuccessful" team, do you think they see themselves as 4th in the BE or whatever they finished at? No, they know they have what it takes, and they dont need points or some guy in a box or some dude in a forum telling them their measure of success.

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just wanted to say that I think this is a great thread with really good insight...thank you for the read

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