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South Florida Bulls 2017 College Football Preview, Schedule, Prediction, Depth Chart

South Florida Bulls 2017 Preview

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The South Florida Bulls look to an explosive offense to carry the team to the top of the AAC in 2017.

Overview: Charlie Strong is in his first year running the show for the South Florida Bulls and he will oversee a high caliber offense and a porous defense from 2016. The question is can Strong get the defensive side of the football to be at least competent to avoid a shootout every Saturday?

South Florida Bulls 2017 College Football Preview, Schedule, Prediction, Depth Chart

USA TODAY Sports

Offense: The South Florida Bulls could  move the chains and find the endzone  often a season ago and that shouldn’t change in 2017. The Bulls offense has dual threat quarterback Quinton Flowers to lean on with his ability complete passes and limit mistakes or by using his legs to wreak havoc on opposing defenses. The Bulls have several quality receivers in Tyre McCants, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and tight end Mitchell Wilcox  but the loss of Rodney Adams and his 70+ catches does hurt. Marlon Mack left USF to play on Sunday’s but the rushing attack should be on solid ground behind D’Ernest Johnson who showed explosiveness when spelling Mack while also averaging over ten yards per catch on 28 receptions. South Florida also loses a pair of All AAC linemen so the offense does have a few big pieces to replace.

Defense: The South Florida Bulls defense was not strong against the run and never found the rotation the team was looking for as a multitude of players saw the field for a unit looking for that magic albeit elusive combination. The good news for USF is that the majority of those players return to give the team experience and some depth. The Bulls defensive line will revolve around tackle Deadrin Senat who was effective versus the run while fellow tackle Bruce Hector got to the quarterback with six sacks. The Bulls linebacking duo of Nigel Harris and Auggie Sanchez logged over 17 TFL so the front seven did make some plays and has some potential. Safety’s Khalid McGee and Jaymon Thomas were solid in all phases but the secondary won’t be asked to defend the pass if opponents continue to grind away on the ground so South Florida has to be a viable run ‘D’.

Special Teams: Jonathan Hernandez returns at punter and placekicker Emilio Nadelman comes back from injury to give the Bulls a decent kicking game while D’Ernest Johnson is a dangerous returner.

Outlook: The Bulls have a few pieces to replace but look very dangerous on paper while a porous defense in 2016 has enough returning experience to say the defense should be at least a bit better. Strong appears to have the pieces to make a run at the AAC East crown and that's the expectation.

Schedule:

8-26 @ San Jose State

9-2 vs. Stony Brook

9-9 @ UConn

9-15 vs. Illinois

9-21 vs. Temple

9-30 @ East Carolina

10-14 vs. UMass

10-21 @ Tulane

10-28 vs. Cincinnati

11-4 vs. Houston

11-16 vs. Tulsa

11-24 @ Central Florida

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