That’s all South Florida will have to prepare to go on the road to take on Pittsburgh Thursday night.
Short weeks have become increasingly common in recent years thanks to television contracts prompting mid-week games. But that doesn’t make it any easier for a head coach to get his team ready for a quick turnaround.
And from the Bulls perspective, a late-ending contest with UTEP even shrunk the physical recovery time football players need from week to week.
“Lot of challenges,” Skip Holtz began to say. “We didn’t end our game until 10:30 at night on Saturday. It was really late. We brought them out yesterday in shorts, but we had lightning. [We] didn’t want to keep them around waiting so we just went to meetings and didn’t get on the field.”
Speaking of late at night, the Bulls who are accustomed to an academic day on Monday, had to take to the fields at 10 p.m. because it was the only time the team’s schedule allowed. When the sheer amount of days are at a premium, missing one or two practices could cut an entire practice schedule for the week in half.
“We usually give them Monday off as an academic day,” explained Holtz. “So we are practicing at 10pm tonight because it’s the only time the entire team can play.
“Really today will be the only day of practice in pads. It’s going to pose some challenges. We won’t have much time on the field, so we have to make the most of it.”
Even worse for Coach Holtz and company is the fact they will have to make the long trip up to Pennsylvania while their opponents remain at home for an extra day. The Bulls won’t make any excuses, though.
Instead, the crowd noise, or the elimination thereof, will be their focus. According to Skip Holtz, it all starts with strong defensive play to help keep the crowd’s emotions in check.
“It’s hard. With crowd noise, it takes you out of rhythm, it takes the leadership out because guys can’t verbally communicate with each other,” said Holtz. “It does things to effect you. You have to play great defense to take the crowd out.”
Thursday’s nationally televised game on ESPN will kick off at 8:00 p.m.