USF has been inconsistent on offense in its two losses, and that is something the Bulls are well aware of as they prepare to host Cincinnati on Saturday.
Two of the biggest areas they want to fix: red zone offense and third-down conversions.
Last week in a loss to UConn, USF made just 3-of-11 third downs. They also struggled once they got into UConn territory. On two trips inside the UConn 7, USF had a field goal and fumble. On seven trips from inside the UConn 31, USF missed two field goals (46, 43), had an interception and failed to convert on fourth down. Just one drive ended in a touchdown.
“I told my teammates field goals don’t count,” USF quarterback B.J. Daniels said. “We have got to get the ball into the end zone. We have got to be consistent -- not just having big plays but having consistent drives, giving the defense a chance to rest and put up some points and wear the other defense out. A lot goes into it, but the No. 1 thing is doing the little things fundamental-wise.”
On 27 trips inside the red zone this season, USF has 14 touchdowns. Only three of those came in their games against Notre Dame, Pitt and UConn.
Another area that has to be worked on is taking care of the football. USF was at plus-8 in that category before its two-game losing streak. But in those defeats, USF is at minus-3.
Daniels had two interceptions against the Huskies, but said he has not lost any confidence.
“Tom Brady said once if you’re going to take a snap under center, you’re going to throw an interception. No one’s perfect,” Daniels said. “I hate that it happened. One of them was a tipped pass from the defensive line, the other one I tried to give my receiver a chance, but the defensive back made a great play.
“My thing now is to not be gun-shy, to continue to throw the football, continue to deliver it and be confident back there in the pocket. I’m still confident in the ability I have, and I’m going to continue to do what I can to help out this team.”