2022 South Florida Bulls Preview

by Matt Fargo

South Florida Bulls

2021-22 Season Record 2-10 (1-7 American) - 7-5-0 ATS - 6-6-0 O/U

Returning Starters

Offense - 10
Defense - 9

Overview

South Florida entered the scene in 2000 under the direction of head coach Jim Leavitt and it was immediate success with four straight winning seasons before a hiccup in 2004 and then it was five more years of .500 or better and five bowl games. Skip Holtz took over in 2010 and lasted only three years as the Bulls regressed each season and then Willie Taggart inherited a mess only to turn it around in three years and in 2016, the Bulls finished the season ranked in the top 20 for the first timer ever. Charlie Strong could not keep it going and was there for just three years and now it is Jeff Scott that has to make a move. He has gone 3-18 in his first two seasons and entering 2022, there are no excuses as 19 starters are back from a 2-10 team with the only FBS win coming against Temple. Will experience pay off and turn the Bulls around or is the roster just that bad? We are about to find out.

Offense

There was no consistency on offense as the Bulls got on little runs only to bottom out. They scored 31 and 34 points and then put up 14 points. They scored 42 and 28 points and then back-to-back games of 14 and 13 points. Almost everyone is back from the offense that finished No. 102 in total offense and No. 99 in scoring offense and help is on the way at the most important position. Former Baylor quarterback Gerry Bohanon will step into the starting role for Timmy McClain who could not get the offense rolling. Bohanon threw for 2,200 yards with 18 touchdowns and seven interceptions while also rushing for 323 yards and nine touchdowns so he could be the sparkplug they need. The top three receivers are back as are the top two running backs so Bohanon has options and a lot of the success will come down to the offensive line that has all five starters back and is deep.

Defense

There were positive signs for the offense at times but there were very few encouraging moments for the defense that allowed fewer than 29 points only twice against FBS opposition. Overall, the Bulls were No. 124 in total defense and No. 117 in scoring defense and there is plenty of experience back to improve in all areas. They were lit up on the ground and through the air and getting into the offensive backfield will help cure that. The secondary was put on an island most of the time and they finished No. 118 in passing efficiency defense and while a lot of that was bad coverage, they had no pass rush help as South Florida was dead last in the country with nine sacks. Be disruptive is the goal and there are pieces in place to do so. The linebackers are the strength as Antonio Grier and Dwayne Boyles both return after combining for 159 tackles, four sacks, four interceptions and four forced fumbles.

2022 Season Outlook

Give the program credit as they do not shy away from scheduling tough nonconference games as opposed to some teams wanting to pad their records and stats. They lost to NC State, Florida and BYU by a combined 122-47 and they have a similar setup this year which can toughen them up early or send them spiraling before conference play begins and this is where the coaching needs to emerge as they cannot lose the team a third into the season like last year as there was no recovery. This season, it is Louisville, Florida and BYU and while all are likely losses, being more competitive is just as important. The conference schedule is not much easier as the home portion features three teams projected for 6 or more wins and they have to travel to Cincinnati and Houston. The O/U win total is 4.5 and it looks like a no play with all of the experience negated with a brutal schedule. 

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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