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Five Plays: South Florida Bulls

USF v Louisville Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

I’m going to start off by appologizing for the quality of clips this week but this game wasn’t really available on youtube so I had to make due. With that being said, it was nice to have to work to find five clips for this post as UofL had a lot of noteworthy plays on the day.

A few plays that didn't make it were the sacks from Yaya Diaby, Tre Clark’s impressive TFL, and all of the tough runs from the running backs.

Most of the plays below are highlight plays but this is what UofL needs to do each week to get the win.

I liked how Malik was used when they got into a situation where they needed a play made. USF brought pressure a lot on these short-yardage types of situations but on this play, they tried to drop into coverage and Malik still made the play. Louisville spread the field, gave him room to work, and he rewarded the decision.

Malik has been excellent when he gets into the open field but this offense still needs other players to make plays so that Malik can avoid being the only focus. Also, kudos to Scott Satterfield for spreading the field to give Malik more space and fewer defenders to have to worry about. USF dropping into coverage ups the difficulty level here but because the defenders are so spread out, it allows him to survey the field and take the right running angles.

I spent a lot of time last week killing Kenderick Duncan for his lack of effort when it came to tackling in the FSU game. This week I want to highlight how great this play is. Duncan walks into the box as the tight end goes in motion. He reads the screen and beats the block to cut down the runner.

Here’s what I really love about this play. Duncan could have been timid and eaten this block to make sure that he doesn’t end up being too aggressive and miss the tackle. Instead, he uses his quickness to get to the spot he needs to be, and then he gets small to get around the blocker. The tackle is fun to watch but it’s the work he put in before the tackle that stands out. This is the effort they need each week and the risk they need guys to take. If he doesn’t make this tackle, there's a chance this running back scores.

Malik missed some throws in this game but this ended up being a pretty nice throw even though Jaelin Carter had to lay out to make the catch. But, the point of this post is to highlight the types of plays that win you games and Carter does what he needs to do here to score and UofL needs more guys that go out and make a play.

If you set up a camera in my living room, you’d watch me yelling “make a play” all game long because close football games are won by the team that takes advantage when they have the opportunity to impact the game. Dropped interceptions, missed sacks and TFLs, and dropped passes are the types of things that drive me crazy but when you make those plays, you can really set the tone.

UofL didn’t have much trouble in this game but who knows what happens if you don’t make this play and maybe you miss a field goal? Instead of 14-0 with the crowd totally into it, you allow USF to call the game differently on offense, and maybe their defense has a lot of confidence instead of being deflated. Carter took advantage when the moment was there for him and it was a big factor in this game.

It was tough to cut this down to five plays but I really liked this specific play because the defense did their job as a group and it led to a turnover. This is a pretty basic call by UofL against a 3x1 look from USF. The boundary safety takes one of the receivers on the side with three receivers and Chandler Jones rotates to a “center field” position as a deep safety.

Jones makes the play, and I don’t want to take away from that but the linebackers are the key players here. Momo Sanogo and TJ Quinn get great depth in their drops and they force this throw to be high enough to go over them but precise enough to drop in front of the safety. That doesn’t happen and Jones is right where he should be to make the play. This is a good example of everyone doing their job.

I’m not sure we’ve seen a Louisville safety even show the capability to make this type of play in a good while. Josh Minkins does such a good job here of disguising the coverage, getting to his spot in his drop, and going up and making an athletic interception. We’ve seen guys bat this pass away and even drop the interception but to come over top like this and play the ball from the time it was thrown is a really impressive thing to see.

Minkins has been extremely improved this season after playing a bit timid as a freshman and a little out of control as a redshirt freshman. His experience in the system has paid off as he moved over to strong safety this year and he has become a play maker for this defense. PFF grades him as the best secondary player in coverage and he leads the team in forced incompletions, forced incompletion percentage, and PBUs. If he can continue to play at this level in coverage, Bryan Brown can continue to deploy an aggressive scheme each week.