Greetings from South Bend, Ind., where the weather is warm and the living is fantastic! Here are my three things to watch for USF headed into its game against No. 16 Notre Dame.
1. USF offensive line. The Bulls have three new starters, and also have moved guard Chaz Hine to center. I will be watching to see how the center-quarterback exchange goes, especially with the loud crowd noise early on. Hine has plenty of starting experience, but has never started a game at center so this one should be something for Bulls fans to watch. Redshirt freshman Quinterrius Eatmon is starting at right tackle in his fist career start there as well.
2. B.J. Daniels. Much has been made about wanting to see more consistency out of Daniels now that he is going into his third year as a starter. That is a must. But watch for him to run more this season. Perhaps USF will have some designed runs for him in this game to keep the defense honest. Offensive coordinator Todd Fitch said earlier this offseason that he wants to get Daniels more involved in the run game because they have to take advantage of his athleticism. He was limited there last season as he learned a new offense, so he could be turned loose to do more this season.
3. Speedsters. USF has plenty of speedy players on its roster. There will be more of an effort to get fast guys like Terrence Mitchell and Lindsey Lamar more involved, either out of the backfield or in the receiving game. But Notre Dame keeps the field long, so the grass could slow these players down and potentially neutralize them. So keep an eye on whether the Bulls can play as fast as they want.