Most weeks, we like to sit down with the writers from our opponents' blogs for a little Q&A to get a feel for what the week's game will hold. Don't worry, we'll get to that tomorrow. Today, we have a special treat. The Smoking Musket has had the good fortune to get in touch with Follansbee, West Virginia native, ESPN analyst, former Notre Dame and South Carolina head coach and father of USF head man Skip Holtz---the venerable Lou Holth---for an exclusive interview in preparation for the upcoming game. Let's get to it:
The Smoking Musket: Hey, Coach Holth. Thanks for agreeing to do this interview with us. What's it going to be like sitting in the ESPN studio this Thursday night as your son, Skip, leads his USF Bulls against your home state WVU Mountaineers?
Hey, Muthket. Thanks for having me on, it's really a pleasure to be here. I'm so proud of my home state, it's really an honor to talk to guys who share my passion for the state of West Virginia. It's never easy watching two teams that you have such close ties to battle it out on the gridiron, but it's shaping up to be another outstanding matchup this year.
TSM: Speaking of two teams that you have close ties to, what was it like to play WVU in the Fiesta Bowl when you were at Notre Dame?
Why, I remember back in the 1890's...or was that the 1980's?...when I led my Notre Dame Fighting Irish against Don Nehlen's first undefeated team. It was a dandy of a game, and our boys fought through some adversity to pull out a win. One of my proudest moments coaching collegiate football.
TSM: Rumor has it you actually instructed your players to injure WVU's star quarterback. Any truth to that?
Woah-ho-ho! What are you saying here? I was so afraid of that quarterback, Corporal Harris, that I designed my entire defensive game plan around stopping him. But to suggest I had my guys take him out on the third play of the game? Now I would ne-heh-heh-hever do thomething like that. You thee what kind of impact losing a quarterback has had on my son Skip's team...
TSM: Thanks for bringing us back to the game at hand. BJ Daniels got hurt in the Miami game and didn't play at all against Louisville. USF lost both of those games. Can the Bulls win without him?
That'th a great point. EJ Daniels is an outthanding afflete. He can run and he can pass and he can throw. You just never know which one he's going to pick! He makes that offense superdimentional, and that's hard for one guy to do. YOU ETH EFF is going to have to play really well on defense if it wants to win this game with out CJ Danels.
TSM: Daniels isn't the only Bull that is questionable due to injury. Receivers AJ Love and Sterling Griffin have been hurt, and the defensive secondary has been decimated as well, although Griffin may be back. How should USF game plan in light of these injuries?
You're athking me how I would go about it? Everything thtarts with defense. The Bulls have an all-thtar defensive line, and they have to get pressure on the WVU quarterback. They have to get thacks. They have to get thtops. They have to cause intertheptions. On offense, it all depends on whether DJ Daniels plays. If you have to go to the backup, you let him manage the game and hope your running game works. But if PJ Daniels is healthy, he opens up the options I talked about earlier.
TSM: How far has USF come under Skip, and how far do they have to go to be an elite program?
Other than TJ Daniels and a couple of the defensive linemen, the Bulls are a long way from being a great program. They're 2 hours from Miami, 2 and a half from Gainesville, and probably 3 from Tallahassee. And golly, they're at least 1200 miles from South Bend. If that's not far enough away from greatness, I don't know what to tell ya.
TSM: Well, give us a prediction for the game. Can USF keep this one close, or will the Mountaineers run the Bulls out of the stadium?
Last question, then I have to go give the team a pep talk. GJ Daniels is going to play the game of his life. A hundred and theventy yards passing and three touchdowns and thixty yards and another touchdown rushing. The Bullth are going to harrath Geno Thmith into theveral intertheptions and win the turnover battle. Smith is good, but he's no VJ Daniels. YOU ETH EFF thirty theven, WVU thixteen. ZJ Daniels is the MVP.