TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The University of South Florida Bulls football team will start the season at home on Friday against the Wisconsin Badgers.
The Badgers are an impressive opponent currently ranked 19th in the AP Top 25 poll. The two teams met once in Madison, Wisconsin in 2014 and the win landed in the laps of the Badgers with a final score of 27-10.
The Bulls’ head coach, Charlie Strong, described the Badgers as “a tall team, very athletic, very rangy.”
He said he is thrilled to have them on the schedule because their powerful program will boost the USF football program.
“In order for us to move this program and take this program where we need to take it, you are going to have to play those teams and you are going to have to play very well against those teams,” Strong said. “Our guys understand that challenge and they understand what is in front of them.”
How do the Bulls plan on challenging them?
“We are going to have to play our best football,” said Strong. “We have had some really good weeks of practice. Our guys really came out and really work well, really love where we are headed right now, and love their overall attitude.”
They will have to control the Badgers’ Heisman Trophy contender, junior running back Jonathan Taylor. Taylor led the nation with 2,194 rushing yards last season.
“It is all about gap assignment,” Strong said. “If guys stay in their gaps and guys get off blocks, you are going to be able to stop the run but, when you are an undisciplined team and you give up those gaps, you are going to get the big runs, the explosive runs on you. We have to be disciplined on Friday night because, if we don’t, he will put on a show.”
I asked Strong to tell me his favorite part of the start of the season and he chose to dedicate the answer to his players.
“They are holding one another accountable,” he said. “I love how you watch the team grow and then guys start forming their own little attitudes, they are coming together, their own little personalities, it is fun to watch.”
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- Jordan McCloud starting at QB for Bulls as USF takes on South Carolina State
- QB competition: USF OC says Barnett and McCloud both in running to start Saturday
- Bulls shutout at home by Badgers