As the Georgia Tech football team continues to prepare for the University of South Florida Bulls, we take a closer look at USF’s powerful offense.
The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets had a rather easy opponent in week one when they took on the Alcorn State Braves. Starting in week two, it will only get harder for the Yellow Jackets defensively and USF is going to be a strong test of where the Jackets actually stand defensively this season.
As you can see, South Florida a year ago was a high octane offense that could get into a track meet with any program and find a way to win. That offense helped the Bulls last season collect a 10-2 record, dropping games to Houston and Central Florida.
Overall, the Bulls scored 30 or more points in 11 of 13 games last season and 40 or more points in five games. Which no matter who you are is a hard feat to accomplish throughout a season. It’s safe to say Nate Woody will have his hands full trying to stop this powerful offense.
Before delving into The Bulls offense, let’s take a quick look at their 2017 stats and how they performed in comparison in week one.
More from Football
- Georgia Tech Football: What the new ACC scheduling format means for the Yellow Jackets
- Georgia Tech gets six new commits to 2023 class after official visits
- Georgia Tech hosts a plethora of 2023 recruits this weekend
- Dontae Smith slated for big season in 2022
- Why Georgia Tech must move on from Andrew Thacker
2017 Stats (Per Game):
- Points: 38.2
- Passing Yards: 248.9
- Rushing Yards: 264.1
- Total Yards: 513
2018 Week One Stats:
- Points: 31
- Passing Yards: 367
- Rushing Yards: 148
- Total Yards: 515
That being said, the Bulls experienced a ton of turnover entering 2018 and had plenty of questions on offense. One of those questions entering the season was who would be their starting quarterback? Luckily for them, that is one question that they seem to have found an answer at following their week one win over Elon.
QB Blake Barnett:
We talked about Barnett during our USF players to watch on Tuesday and the conclusion was quite simple. Barnett despite bouncing around the country the last few years still is a dangerous and talented quarterback that South Florida will rely on throughout this season.
In his first start as the Bulls starting quarterback, Barnett went 24-for-34 with 305-yards and three touchdown passes, a strong day for any quarterback. He also contributed eight carries for 31-yards and a touchdown giving him four total scores for the afternoon.
Barnett overall isn’t a huge threat with his legs but it is a part of his game that you can’t underestimate or he will make you pay for it.
The Yellow Jackets secondary had a great start to the season against Alcorn State allowing less than 100-yards through the air but Barnett will be one of the most talented quarterbacks this secondary faces all season.
Running back by Committee?
Maroon and White Nation
When you lose three running backs who all had 700 or more yards on the ground in a season, it’s not going to be easy to replace your running game and not miss a beat. In week one against Elon, the South Florida running game was not too impressive, gaining just 148-yards over 38 rushing attempts, an average of 3.9 yards per carry.
Overall, eight different Bulls had at least one rushing attempt in week one with Elijah Mack and Johnny Ford leading the way with ten and eight carries. Junior running back Trevon Sands also had five carries on Saturday afternoon. That being said, out of the 23 carries that the three running backs shared, they picked up a combined 98-yards of rushing, an average of 4.26 yards per carry.
It’s hard to say that any of the running backs really established themselves as South Florida’s main running back this past weekend which means we could see a running back by committee on Saturday for the Bulls. If the Jackets defensive line and linebacking core could show a strong rush defense early on, it could cause the Bulls to become a one-dimensional offense.
Watch out for St.Felix (X-Factor):
As mentioned earlier, the Georgia Tech secondary had a strong week one performance against Alcorn State but with that being said, the Braves did not have a dangerous receiving weapon like South Florida freshman wide out Randall St. Felix who blew the doors of Elon in their week one victory.
St. Felix who turned eyes in spring ball with the Bulls continued to do so on Saturday as he caught seven balls for 143-yards and a touchdown. While Felix still has yet to prove himself against FBS defenses, the he oozes potential and could turn into one of the best wide outs in the nation pretty quickly. Expect to see Jaitlyn Askew on the standout receiver on Saturday afternoon.
While St. Felix may be the top receiving threat for Barnett, USF has plenty of talent and threats on the perimeter. Among those threats are Tyree McCants, Mitchell Wilcox, and Darnell Saloman. The latter of those three had three receptions for 77-yards against Elon.
Charlie Strong’s offenses at USF so far have produced plenty of results and have been some of the most powerful in the nation, game in and game out albeit a small sample size. That being said, USF is one of the top power five programs in the country and can be taken lightly by any power five opponent.
While they may not a dynamic and dual threat quarterback like Quinton Flowers behind center, the Bulls still look to be among the top programs offensively in the country in 2018. They have the talent to do so, there’s no shortage of that on this roster and it’s lead by their new starting quarterback Blake Barnett. A former five-star quarterback, Barnett appears to have finally found himself a home for the next two seasons and if he lives up to the hype that surrounded him coming out of high school, the payoff could be immense for South Florida.
The biggest key to the game offensively for USF is going to be their ability to establish a ground attack. If they can do so, they’ll be in a good place offensively to set themselves up for a potential upset victory. That being said, failure to establish a ground attack will turn them into a one-dimensional offense throwing into one of Georgia Tech’s most talented secondaries in a while.