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September 24, 2012USF coach Skip Holtz knows his team will have to play a near perfect game if it wants to beat FSU on Saturday, and if the loss against Ball State was any indication, there needs to be some serious improvement in all phases.
"We're embarrassed for what we put on the field but we have to look in the mirror," Holtz said. "That was us. It's nobody's fault We're taking responsibility for the mistakes we made and hopefully we can do whatever we can to correct them. That's the only way I know how to move forward."
Holtz continued his praise for senior quarterback B.J. Daniels, who had 387 yards of total offense on Saturday, but said the offensive line play continues to be an Achilles heel.
"We have some phases on this team playing well, but we have some phases that are not playing nearly as well as others right now," Holtz said. " The offensive line play is not at the standard that we need it to be."
Nor, Holtz said, is the defense. The front seven was supposed to be a strength this season, but Saturday saw regression - USF didn't record a sack, turnover, or negative yardage play - and Holtz said the main culprit was a fundamental problem.
"We've been stressing so hard with gap control because we've getting out of our gap. We're starting to play sideways," Holtz said. "We've got to get back to where we can play this game more downhill, especially with our front seven."
Holtz admitted he and the coaches need to do a better job, but also said the players need to take some of the ownership in doing their job on a consistent base. Senior linebacker Mike Lanaris said on Twitter after Saturday's loss he vows for improvement.
"To Bullsnation, i apologize for the performance of our D. As a senior, i accept full responsibility and vow for it to never happen again," he wrote.
Florida State will surely provide perhaps the biggest challenge this year. The Seminoles, who beat Clemson 49-37 in impression fashion on Saturday, head into Saturday's game against the Bulls ranked No. 4 in both major polls.
"We have a great football team coming here this week and if we play like we played last week, we'll get embarrassed," Holtz said.
Secondary getting healthy
Cornerback Kayvon Webster, who didn't play Saturday because of a knee injury, practiced Sunday and should be able to play this Saturday. Safety JaQuez Jenkins played through some back spasms on Saturday, and should be fine, Holtz said.
"That pretty much puts us at full strength and hopefully we'll get an opportunity to see them play this week," Holtz said.
Junior college transfers Joshua Brown and Fidel Montgomery, each in their first year with the program, made their first collegiate starts on Saturday, Brown at cornerback, and Montgomery at safety.
Daniels was selected to the Big East honor roll for Saturday's performance Another glaring issue is the penalties -"we're hurting ourselves," senior RB Demetris Murray said after watching the Bulls commit 11 penalties for 112 yards on Saturday.