Alabama Football: South Florida Bulls Defensive Scouting Report

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports /

The Alabama Football offense is looking to press the reset button after looking sluggish and disorganized throughout an early season bout with Texas.

In the most highly-anticipated early season matchup of the college football season, the Bama offense fell flat. It failed to establish a reliable running game, could not consistently sustain drives, and committed two unforced turnovers that essentially cost the Crimson Tide the game.

How will the unit bounce back from such an abysmal performance?

It will start by trying a new quarterback. Notre Dame transfer Tyler Buchner is expected to start against South Florida this week, and he is a total wild card. Buchner has only attempted five passes in an Alabama uniform, all against Middle Tennessee State. Even at his previous stop in South Bend, Buchner started just three games and has less than 1,000 career passing yards.

Redshirt sophomore Jalen Milroe started Bama’s first two games. Between his explosive running ability and his beautiful deep ball, Milroe might be the most electric big play threat in the entire country. The issue is he has not offered the Tide offense much when the home run play isn’t there.

In his first start for the Crimson Tide, Tyler Buchner will enjoy having more talent at his disposal than he ever had at Notre Dame. He’ll distribute the ball to a receiving corps whose ceiling appears to be limitless and a running game with a lot of untapped potential. While he isn’t the raw athlete Jalen Milroe is, Buchner can be quite a playmaker himself.

Alabama Football vs South Florida Defense

The South Florida Bulls haven’t been great defensively so far in 2023. USF allowed 465 yards and 34 offensive points in a 41-24 loss to Western Kentucky to start the season. It followed that performance by surrendering 393 yards and 24 points in a win over Florida A&M.

Both of USF’s early opponents took a pass heavy approach, both going well over 300 yards on 50 and 43 attempts respectively. As a result, the Bulls rank 20th nationally in run defense, allowing 74 yards per game in what is a somewhat misleading stat. The 355 yards per game they have given up through the air, on the other hand, ranks 128th out of 133 FBS schools.

After not forcing any turnovers against Western Kentucky, USF logged four takeaways in its win over FAMU. Safety Logan Berryhill is the top playmaker on the Bulls’ defense thus far, having snagged a pair of interceptions. He is a rangy, experienced defensive back that won’t hesitate to capitalize on any potential mistakes by the Alabama quarterbacks.

Linebacker DJ Gordon IV was USF’s second-leading tackler with 66 stops in 2022, and its top returner. He’s off to a fast start this season with 12 tackles and 3.5 tackles for loss through two games. Nickel corner Daquan Evans has been disruptive thus far as well, leading the Bulls with 4.0 tackles for loss from his secondary post.

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Although this South Florida defense has a couple of playmakers, they will not stack up well against the offense for Alabama Football over the course of a game. The Crimson Tide’s dramatic size advantage in the trenches should allow it to establish the run in what is expected to be sloppy weather conditions.