USF prepares for Bowers and Clemson defense

by - Senior Writer -

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The South Florida Bulls held their Tuesday bowl practice at the Carolina Panthers practice facility – adjacent to Bank of America Stadium – and even though the game was still three days away, quarterback Bobby Eveld was already thinking about Clemson defensive end Da’Quan Bowers.

Eveld was pressed into action when starter B.J. Daniels went down with a quadriceps injury during the Miami game. The freshman walk-on stepped into the breach and led the Bulls to a 23-20 overtime victory over their neighbors to the south, and he almost beat eventual Big East champion Connecticut a week later.

South Florida head coach Skip Holtz was coy with reporters on Tuesday when he was asked if had named a starter for the bowl game, and said that both players are sharing snaps during bowl preparations.

Eveld played in six games this season, and completed 42-of-75 passes for 454 yards and two touchdowns.

Tuesday, he said that in watching film of Clemson’s defense, the defensive line really jumped out at him.

“They are a very good defense, and they have a lot of athletes all over the field,” Eveld said. “They are really similar to the Florida St. defense, when you are comparing athletes. And they are from the same conference. I think we have a good challenge ahead of us, but I like our chances.

“We had heard rumors that they had the best defensive line in the country, and based on what I’ve seen so far, I believe the rumors. They have a lot of guys that can really rush the quarterback, and they have guys that are always in the backfield. We have been trying out some new plays this week, and I think we’ll have a pretty good game plan.”

Bowers, the Clemson junior who led the nation in sacks, also caught Eveld’s eye.

“What really jumps out at you is that he is just so quick,” Eveld said. “He can bull-rush you and he can just blow past you. I am sure he is going to be causing trouble in the backfield, but I feel like our offensive line is our strongpoint so it will be interesting to see how it all works out.

“They have some of the best defensive linemen I have ever seen on film, and if I get into the game it will be interesting to see them coming at me. Seeing that on film and then seeing it on the field is a lot different.”

Another South Florida player that drew a lot of attention on Tuesday was senior defensive tackle Terrell McClain, who has three sacks and six quarterback hurries.

McClain told TigerNet that Clemson’s offense is your typical pro-style offense.

“We saw some plays they messed up on, but they pretty much go by-the-book,” McClain said. “They run the draw, the screen and the power. We don’t want to take them too lightly. As a defensive line, we have to play fast and smart and watch the draws, traps and screens. We have to play with our head on a swivel. And their offensive linemen surprised me, especially with what they can do with their mobility.”

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