You saw Part I of my Q&A with USF coach Skip Holtz.
How would you rate B.J. Daniels’ performance this season?
SH: He made more progress. He’s a lot better this year than he was a year ago and probably even better than I thought he could be. It's not only B.J., but he starts the year throwing the ball to Terrence Mitchell, Sterling Griffin, A.J. Love. We were all excited they were back, and in middle season he’s throwing to Deonte Welch, Ruben Gonzalez, and Andre Davis, because those other guys were out. That’s just part of what we went through during the season. I reflect back to early in the year. He threw the ball to the field instead of the boundary. I said, ‘Why did you do that?’ And he basically said, ‘I don't have the same confidence in the freshmen as I do with Sterling Griffin.’ That confidence had to be built through the course of the season. Some of the injuries we had, had something to do with it but B.J. finished second in the league in total offense. … When you look at the program, we were better off than we were a year ago. B.J. is a much better quarterback than he was a year ago. He did a much better job of protecting the football and running the offense, showed maturity and poise. I couldn't be more excited about what he did.
SH: We’ll give them an opportunity to compete. Bobby is a better quarterback than he was year ago, but Bobby did not look as comfortable playing later in the year as I would have liked to with a guy who had a year under his belt. From that standpoint, I think we've got to roll the ball out and let them compete. I want to see B.J. continue to improve, but the strides he has to make from this year to next year are not nearly as great than the ones he had to make from last year to this year. He still can get better, and he still can improve. He's getting pretty close to being a complete quarterback. With Bobby and Matt, they need to continue to compete.
What about Darrell Scott? Will he be back?
SH: Darrell Scott is going through the advisory board process. All indications are he'd like to come back but he'd like to see where he is right now. I would love to see him come back not just selfishly. I’d be the first one to say if he comes back and says he's going in the first round, he needs to go. I think he could benefit from coming back. I think he could help his draft status, but he has to make the decision in the best interest of him and his family. But I'd love to see him come back.
USF has been able to win big nonconference games, but can’t consistently win in Big East play. How do you change that?
SH: Some of those close games we talked about losing, those are the games we're going to have to win. I do believe we are that close but that's the next step for this program. We have had some big nonconference wins. The biggest thing we talked about from the start of camp that we needed to improve was our depth. I felt like depth was a concern. Unfortunately, you're going to get into those situations where some young guys are going to have to step up. … Can we win here? I do believe we can win a Big East championship here. I believe with the team we have returning, with the experience we have, we have a chance to be a pretty good football team if we continue to make the same strides we made this year.
What is the biggest thing you learned about yourself this season?
SH: Not that I learned, but you reiterate the details is the difference between winning and losing. It's not that you threw a touchdown pass; it’s that you don't have a personal foul on a critical drive. It’s that you don’t have a missed assignment. It was like that in nine of the 12 games we had. We had a lead with 10 minutes or less to go. We sit here at 5-7, and I am encouraged by this football team. I love their attitude. I love the way they work every week. I love the way they come to practice. It's just the wins were elusive.
Are you planning on making changes to your staff?
SH: I'm having a lot of my exit interviews now. As soon as we finished our last game, the majority of our coaches went on the road recruiting. I have to sit down and meet with everybody. I have to evaluate a little bit of the season and where we are.