As the season draws nearer, we’re taking a look at each of the opponents on the 2020 Notre Dame Fighting Irish schedule. Today, it’s the South Florida Bulls’ turn. Though the football program is the same age as I, the team has packed a significant impact into 23 years. Irish fans will remember Notre Dame’s 23-20 2011 loss in the two squads’ only meeting so far. The two teams will play a three-game series beginning Sept. 19, 2020.
Three Things to Know About USF
A New Era
The Bulls will start the season with a new coach, Jeff Scott. Scott had previously served as the Clemson Tigers’ co-offensive coordinator and helped lead the team to the 2016 and 2018 championships. Scott has been vocal in his support of athlete protests in reaction to police brutality against Black Americans. He supported his players as they decided to sit out of Thursday’s practice in response to the police shooting of Jacob Blake. Scott said, “...you always take pride in being able to fix things for your players, you know, just like a coach or a dad. You want to fix whatever the problem is... and this is one of those situations that, as a coach, you cannot fix it for your players and so part of it is just for your guys to know that you love them, that you are there to support them, and that you stand with them…”
All About the Graduate Transfers
A major mix of grad transfer have come aboard as the USF Bulls begin the 2020 season. Just some examples include Michigan transfer linebacker Devin Gil and Northern Illinois transfer tight end Mitchell Brinkman. Specifically, Wofford transfer and defensive tackle Thad Mangum has shown promise in preseason camp despite recovering from a knee injury that forced him out of play for most of 2019. Defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer has highlighted Mangum’s impact in camp.
The Quarterback Question
Returning QB Jordan McCloud, Alcorn State transfer Noah Johnson and North Carolina transfer Cade Fortin are all in the running for the starting quarterback spot. Specifically, Johnson chalked up about 3,300 yards for Alcorn State despite a torn AC. All three know what it’s like to show up under pressure, and this QB competition will be an interesting one.