With Bohanon lost for the season, what's next for USF?

So, we know now that quarterback Gerry Bohanon's season is over after he suffered a shoulder injury against Tulane. The bigger question is, does that mean South Florida's season is finished as well? There is no question that Bohanon's loss decapitates the offense, the latest in a series of blows that have impacted this team from the very first game.

Coach Jeff Scott has been shouting "next man up" so much this year that he's almost lost his voice. Scott had no immediate comment on the loss of Bohanon, just as he had no immediate comment on the loss of players like Donovan Jennings, a mainstay in the offensive line who had 22 consecutive starts at left tackle and 35 overall before he was hurt in the loss at Louisville.

When Bohanon went down with 6:46 to play in the second quarter against Tulane, the rest of USF's season may have gone down with him. USF was leading 14-10 at the time and Bohanon had thrown for one touchdown and ran for the other. He had hit on 7 of 8 passes for 109 yards and rushed for 59 more. No question, the USF offense revolved around Bohanon.

He has been critical to whatever semblance of success this team has had, to giving it something positive to look at by the way it played at Florida and Cincinnati, providing it with a sort of "see, we can do this" kind of moment. And that's all USF has had to cling to because there have been no wins or at least none that would indicate this team is starting to turn itself around.

And now Bohanon is gone. He was kind of the glue holding this together and that leaves Katravis Marsh to step in. Marsh has played but only sparingly. He has started two games, including a loss at East Carolina last year when he threw three interceptions in the second half.

So, now what?

Patrick Zier
Patrick Zier

Well, Scott's first job is to see that this team doesn't finally fall apart. Scott has been good at motivating his players, and no doubt Bohanon himself will urge them to keep pressing forward. But the Bulls have been wandering in the desert for so long now that victory, any kind of real success, must be beginning to look like a mirage. Scott has to convince them it's still out there, that they can still find it, even without Bohanon.

In that light, the Temple game becomes critical. Forget about Houston. The Cougars have not been the dominant team they were supposed to be, maybe because they bought into the notion that they were the team to beat in the AAC until Tulane and some others proved they weren't, but they are still very good.

No, Temple is now the key. Like USF, this is a team that is struggling mightily. If USF is to salvage anything this season, it must beat Temple. And Tulsa, another program gasping for air. Even without Bohanon, Temple and Tulsa are beatable if the Bulls have their heads on straight. Problem is, both Temple and Tulsa will view a win over USF as a way to salvage something from their seasons as well.

Looking at this very coldly, Bohanon's injury takes a bit of the pressure off Scott. Not all of it, but some. In his first three years, Scott's teams have won just four games and three of those are over minor leaguers from the FCS. He has to do better than that, and wins over Temple and Tulsa would indicate some sort of progress as the season comes to a close. It isn't a light at the end of the tunnel, but it could be a candle flickering in the darkness.

PAT'S PICKS: UCF over East Carolina — Cincinnati thinks it's the best team in the conference. It gets a chance to prove it next week. The rest: Temple over Tulsa, Cincinnati over SMU, Houston over Navy, Tulane over Memphis. Last week, 3-1. For the season, 43-12, .780.

This article originally appeared on The Ledger: With Bohanon lost for the season, what's next for USF?