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Saturday, September 27, 2008

My Weekly Dose Of Optimism: Week 5

Well, it's the second week in a row that a top-15 team will make their journey into Carter-Finley Stadium. This week the Pack hosts the #13 University of South Florida.

The Bulls are good. REAL good. They've got a mobile quarterback in Matt Grothe that makes plays with both his feet and his arm, which really tests the discipline of a defense to cover their assignments, stay at home and not get out of position.

Their defense is just as stout. They've got a great lineman in George Selvie who will put a ton of pressure on Harrison Beck to make quick, correct decisions.

But here's why I think the Pack can win tonight:


  1. Above all else, Harrison Beck will be tonight's X-factor. As Tom O'Brien joked earlier this week, if he can restrict his throws to the folks in the red jerseys we'll stand a chance. But I think Harrison will have an added amount of motivation to get the job done tonight. He's a native of Clearwater, Fla., which is practically in South Florida's backyard. He grew up with a lot of the folks that will play in tonight's game and will be eager to put on a good showing, I believe. I think Beck dials the gunslinger nonsense down a bit and focuses on moving the chains instead of chucking it 60 yards every chance he gets.
  2. Through a wealth of injuries, a lot of folks on our two deep are getting playing time. You like to have experienced depth on your squad, and though this isn't the way you like to go about getting it, nevertheless it helps. You saw that last weekend with the play of third-string tight end George Bryan. He stepped up HUGE in the game against East Carolina. We'll need another big game from him, as well as other relative unknowns on the two deep, in order to beat the Bulls. I think we will.
  3. Safety Clem Johnson, who was expected to miss the whole season with a broken jaw, was upgraded to "probable" on the depth chart on Thursday. Having him in the secondary will be a big help facing a tough South Florida offense. His return could provide a spark to a team that's watched so many of its own befall injury.
  4. Winning against East Carolina proved to this team that they can fight and win against ranked competition. I would feel much worse about this game had we lost to ECU, but winning that game should provide a boost of confidence to the Wolfpack squad. I think they'll come fired up and give USF everything they can handle early. If the Pack can score some points and maintain that momentum, I think the win will be ripe for the picking.
So there you go...your weekly does of optimism. USF is a great team, no doubt, but the Pack played the role of spoiler last night and I think stands a good chance to do it again in front of a lively nighttime crowd at Carter-Finley.

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