We spoke with Nathan Bond of The Daily Stampede to get the inside scoop on USF ahead of Saturday’s game.
1) USF brings in QB Gerry Bohanon and several other transfers — how similar will this team be to the one we saw in Provo last year?
I was going to say the only thing really staying the same is the jerseys, but even that’s not true. Head coach Jeff Scott went very hard into the transfer portal in the off-season to help shore up a lot of gaps and holes at every position. USF—like BYU—brought back a lot of returning production, but with a new OC, and DC, it’s going to be very different. Hell, even for the USF fans who were at the spring game it’s going to be different because Bohanon wasn’t on campus.
2) What newcomers outside of Bohanon do you expect to be key contributors in game one?
Clemson transfer WR Ajou Ajou should get plenty of run on offense, as well as UNC WR transfer Khafre Brown. Kansas State transfer Will Jones was with the team last year but was lost for the season just days before the season opener to a torn ACL is back and by all accounts is ready to take the leap. Take your pick along the defensive line because only a handful of guys from last season return after Scott really addressed that position in the portal.
3) What is the strength of the USF offense and defense?
The running backs and wide receivers are legitimately good. Jaren Mangham rushed for 15 touchdowns last season. Brian Battie is a sparkplug, and one of only six returning All-Americans in the country. He did most of his damage on special teams but will figure into the running back rotation heavily. WR Jimmy Horn could start at every school in the state of Florida. He’s a dynamic playmaker, and added muscle this off-season while maintaining breakaway speed.
4) What are the weak spots of the USF offense and defense?
Offensive line and defensive line. While the OL had its moments last season, they struggled against good teams. Ooooooh boy, that defensive line...atrocious is a kind way to put it for the Bulls over the last few years. Luckily, the Cougars don’t have NFL draft caliber offensive linemen to push the Bulls around...right...please say I’m right.
5) What is your prediction for this game?
The Draftkings line is BYU -12. I think they cover that pretty easily. Cougars win 45-27. But, it’s a start in the right direction for the Bulls.