The South Florida Bulls have struggled out of the gate this season. Now sitting at 2-3 (0-1), the optimism that surrounded the team to start the year is gone. It's been replaced anger, frustration and pessimism.
A lot of the blame this season has been placed on the shoulders of senior quarterback B.J. Daniels. The athletic signal-caller has had his ups and downs over the years and has taken a lot of criticism over that time.
Coming off of his best statistical season in 2011, Daniels has completed just 90 passes out of 162 attempts this season for 1,285 yards. That is good for just around a 56 percent completion rate.
He has nine touchdowns, seven interceptions and has carried the ball 61 times for 271 yards and three touchdowns.
The critics have had reason to doubt his ability to lead the team to victories. Turnovers, bad decision-making and mental errors late in games have plagued him throughout his career, but this season, the 2-3 start is not all his fault.
To start, the coaching has been inconsistent.
From bad play-calling to the game-planning itself, Daniels has been put into an offensive system that does not work for him. Offensive coordinator Todd Fitch and coach Skip Holtz want to run a traditional pro-style offense, something Daniels is not comfortable with.
Daniels has tried to operate in the system, but it just hasn't worked. Part of that goes to Fitch and his ability to adapt to Daniels, which hasn't happened.
The offensive line, with three new starters—including a first-year center—has been poor in pass protection. Daniels has been flushed out of the pocket early and often, making it even harder for a scrambling quarterback to set his feet and read his progressions down the field.
Additionally, the running game has not been there for the Bulls.
Senior Demetris Murray has not been as productive as many thought he would. Senior Lindsey Lamar was almost redshirted, and sophomore Marcus Shaw, who was counted on to bring a new dimension with his speed, has been hobbled several games with a sore ankle.
Daniels has put up numbers, but the Bulls defense has been bad this season.
The unit has struggled with penalties and getting stops on third down. With a lackluster defense that continues to allow opponents to hold on to the ball, Daniels doesn’t have much time to get on the field and produce.
As the Bulls prepare for their game against Temple, it must be kept in mind that Daniels is laying it all out there. While he has struggled personally at times, the odds have been stacked against him just as much.