USF works on grabbing more interceptions

Nobody was worse than USF at picking off the ball last season.

So new USF defensive backs coach Ron Cooper is not exactly going out on a limb when he says, "We're going to have a few more than two interceptions this year."

USF better have more than two this season if the Bulls are going to get themselves back to respectability. To say the Bulls struggled in this category is an understatement. They only had one game last season where they got an interception -- Nov. 3 against UConn. They ended up with two in the game -- one from safety Jon Lejiste and one from defensive tackle Elkino Watson.

That's right, the only player returning to the team with an interception last season is a defensive tackle.

In fact, only one defensive back on the roster has made an interception in a Bulls uniform -- safety Mark Joyce, who got one against Stony Brook in 2010.

You understand why interception drills were a huge priority during spring practice.

"To intercept the ball, you have to be able to catch it," Cooper said. "We've done a lot of ball drills. The first interception we got this spring, we celebrated like crazy and made them feel good and we’re going to celebrate every one that takes place until the season starts."

USF is not the only team in the league that struggled to intercept the ball. Three other teams -- Memphis, UConn and Temple -- had single-digit interceptions to rank No. 88 in the nation or worse.