The South Florida Bulls are gearing up to try and get back to the bowl season under first year head coach Willie Taggart. Much of the buzz this offseason around the Bulls’ defense has been around former Notre Dame Fighting Irish transfer Aaron Lynch getting back on the field in 2013. While the dynamic end will be an exciting addition to the defense, senior Ryne Giddins must step up as the leader of the defensive line next season.
Giddins has been with South Florida through the lean years and been a productive presence off the edge. Last season, he finished tied for the team lead with 3.5 sacks as part of 25 total tackles. His efforts last season and in the spring got him named to the pre-season All-Big East team and he will have to step up his game even more in 2013 to stay on that list at season’s end.
The Big East is filled with some high-flying, up-tempo offenses that are designed to put points on the board. For the Bulls to be competitive in the conference, their defense must step up in a major way and that will start with generating a consistent pass rush. While the upside is on the side of Lynch as he takes his first snaps in the conference, Giddins has been there and been productive.
Giddins must establish himself as the veteran leader for the Bulls’ defensive line in 2013 if they hope to start the Taggart era off on the right foot. Getting bowl-eligible is well within USF’s reach but not without their experienced leaders like Giddins stepping their game up.