Flowers' passer rating not unblemished, just his record
Don't count Charlie Strong among those in a mild tizzy over QB Quinton Flowers' pass efficiency, which has dipped modestly -- but not significantly -- in the last 12 months.
This time last season, Flowers had a 150.6 efficiency rating, with 15 touchdown passes, five interceptions and a completion percentage of 58.5 percent (117-of-200). This year, he has a 131.3 rating with 12 TDs, three interceptions, and a 51.4-percent completion rate (89-of-173).
Considering how the Bulls attempt more downfield shots in offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert's system, the disparity stands to reason. Flowers took several shots in Saturday's 34-28 win at Tulane, finishing 10-of-24 for 127 yards, with scoring passes of 38 and 28 yards to Darnell Salomon and Marquez Valdes-Scantling, respectively.
"No, it really isn't (a concern), because we're running the football too," Strong said Monday on the American Athletic Conference's weekly coaches teleconference.
"Quinton really don't care because when we need to make a throw and get a throw, we can get it. ... Some of those throws, they're deep balls and it's a 50-50 ball. Some of them we're getting and some we're not."
And for those suggesting Flowers' isn't being allowed to improvise with his legs as much as he did under Willie Taggart, you may have a legitimate beef in some red-zone instances (see Cincinnati). But overall, the statistics don't bear that out.
This year, he has gained 613 yards and scored seven TDs on 115 carries. Through seven games in 2016, he had 655 yards and seven TDs on 94 carries.
Oh, and his team is 7-0. This time last year, it was 5-2.
USF-UCONN KICKOFF TBA: The league's TV partners have exercised their six-day window on the Bulls' Nov. 4 game at Connecticut, meaning kickoff time won't be announced until next weekend. The remaining time slots that day are 3:30 or 7:15.
Expect a frigid contest if it's at night. The projected high in Hartford that day is 60 degrees, with lows in the low 40s, according to The Weather Channel's 10-day forecast.
ODDS AND ENDS: Senior TB Darius Tice, who ran for a career-best 141 yards on only 13 carries at Tulane, made the AAC weekly honor roll. ... USF still leads the nation in interceptions (16) and turnover margin (plus-1.86). The 16 picks are three more than anyone else in the country. ... The Bulls, who had 10 tackles for loss Saturday, now rank fifth nationally in that category (8.3 per game). ... Tulane coach Willie Fritz said he sent some penalized plays from Saturday's game to the league office. The Green Wave were penalized 12 times -- five more than USF -- for 137 yards. ... Strong now is 19-1 as an AAC coach. He went 12-1 at Louisville -- then a league member -- in 2013.
AUDIBLE: "It's an unbelievable play. He did what I call 'dead-legged' the guy. I thought he was gonna run outside, and...once he made that step outside he kind cut it back inside of (the defender) and went down the middle. That's the thing about him, he makes so many unbelievable plays. Sometimes you've just got to sit back and say, 'Wow.'" -- Strong on Flowers' 21-yard TD run Saturday at Tulane
AUDIBLE, PART II: "I've heard a lot of conversations, and never once have I heard anyone talk about the winning streak or the 30-point (streak). They don't even say nothing about it, they just go about their business and what we're trying to do is just focus on that opponent and whoever the opponent is." -- Strong on his players, who own a nation-best 12-game win streak and have established a Division I-A record with 24 consecutive games of 30 or more points