TV: SEC NET: Tom Hart (PXP), Jordan Rodgers (Analyst) & Cole Cubelic (Sideline)
RADIO: 102.5 FM/102.5 HD2
AUDIO STREAM: TuneIn – Bulls Unlimited 1
SERIES: Florida leads, 2-0
IN TAMPA: UF leads; 1-0; W, 42-20 in 2021
IN GAINESVILLE: UF leads, 1-0; W, 38-14 in 2010
VS. SEC: 2-6, last, L, 42-20 to Florida in 2021
VS.RANKED: 11-34; Lost last 12;
Last win: 52-45 vs. #22 Navy 10/28/2016;
Last road win: 23-23 at #16 Notre Dame 9/3/2011
USF GAME NOTES
There are several points of emphasis for the USF Bulls (1-1) in Saturday night’s matchup against the No. 18-ranked Florida Gators (1-1) at The Swamp.
One stands out.
How will the Bulls contain Gators’ quarterback Anthony Richardson, a 6-foot-4, 232-pound sophomore? USF defensive coordinator Bob Shoop describes Richardson as a “unicorn.”
“His physical appearance is that of a defensive end,” Shoop said. “He looks like LeBron James. He can run like a halfback and throw the ball further and harder than anybody in the state of Florida.”
USF remembers Richardson well from last season’s meeting — the Gators prevailed 42-20 at Raymond James Stadium — when he rushed four times for 115 yards (including a jaw-dropping 80-yard score).
In Florida’s opener, a riveting 29-26 come-from-behind victory against No. 7-ranked Utah, Richardson rushed for 106 yards, including a 45-yard score, and produced three touchdowns.
But in last week’s 26-16 home defeat against Kentucky, the Wildcat defense made life miserable for Richardson, who ran just six times for 4 yards, while completing just 14-of-35 passes for 143 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions.
It would seem that making Richardson into a one-dimensional player — taking away the run and making him pass — might be a good strategy.
Easier said than done, Shoop acknowledged.
“He’s not the only weapon they’ve got,” Shoop said. “They have outstanding receivers who are really big and fast. They’ve got good backs and they’ve got a good offensive line.
“He (Richardson) makes so many plays with his feet that maybe you do want to make him be a quarterback (by passing). When he gets on the perimeter and breaks tackles … you get a nice blitz off the edge and he spins around, which would be incredible for a smaller person, and he throws the ball in the corner for a two-point conversion. He just creates a lot of problems. He’s a really unique athlete.”
In the end, for USF’s best success, Shoop said the Bulls must be true to their scheme.
“With Richardson and their other offensive players, they’re a threat to make an explosive play in any situation,” Shoop said. “We’re going to play our style. We’re not going to play on our heels. We’re going to be aggressive and hopefully play the very best version of our style.”
Offense Must Cash In
Bulls’ offensive coordinator Travis Trickett said USF must take advantage of its possessions, whether it’s by driving for a score or flipping the field position. Controlling the tempo — or maybe shortening the game by working at a more measured pace — is another key.
“Whatever we call, we’ve got to go out and execute,” Trickett said. “We have to maximize our at-bats and stay on the field and convert our third downs and convert in the red zone.”
Trickett said he believed USF’s offense showed improvement against Howard, particularly in its ability to mount scoring drives after three Bison turnovers.
“We took advantage of our opportunities and certainly that’s something we need to do against Florida,” Trickett said.
– Go Bulls –