AAC offensive honor eludes Mack
Apparently, Marlon Mack's record-setting rushing night in his collegiate debut was deemed no more than the second-best offensive effort of the week in the eyes of his league office.
The USF freshman, who set an American Athletic Conference single-game rushing record (24 carries, 275 yards, four TDs) and tied the school record in Saturday's win against Western Carolina, was bypassed for the league's Offensive Player of the Week honor Monday.
Tulsa sophomore Keevan Lucas, who totaled 13 catches for 233 yards and three TDs in the Golden Hurricanes' 38-31 double-overtime win against Tulane, received the honor instead. Lucas had TD catches of 43 and 84 yards in the first half, and his 3-yarder with 2:53 to play in regulation forced overtime.
Mack was among five players named to the weekly honor roll. Additionally, Bulls PK Marvin "Money" Kloss was named the conference's Special Teams Player of the Week with three field goals (47, 33, 26 yards) in the Bulls' 36-31 triumph. Since the start of 2013, Kloss has converted 21 of 26 field goals, and is 8-for-10 from 40 yards or longer.
DAVIS DAY TO DAY: WR Andre Davis' school-record streak of 31 consecutive games with at least one catch might be in jeopardy, depending on how well he recovers from his bruised sternum. On Monday, Taggart described Davis as "day-to-day," adding he is rehabbing the injury but remains sore.
LG Thor Jozwiak (left shoulder) was the only other significant injury reported Monday by Taggart. Jozwiak is set for an MRI on Tuesday.
IN A RUSH: Based on what Taggart saw on tape, hastiness was the main culprit in sophomore QB Mike White's shaky debut (9-for-26, 181 yards, one interception) on Saturday. White was 4-for-7 in the second half after completing 5 of 19 in the first.
He didn't complete a pass for positive yardage to a receiver until his 32-yarder to Sean Price six minutes into the second half.
"I thought he wasn't calm," Taggart said. "I thought everything was in a hurry rather than just slowing down, throwing the ball on time, taking the right drop steps he was supposed to take. ... Mike needed to settle down and not press and when he did, he made some good plays for us."
SPREAD, THE SEQUEL: Look for Big Ten foe Maryland, which comes to Raymond James Stadium on Saturday, to feature a lot of the spread mechanics employed by Western Carolina. Exploiting the cushion provided by USF's defenders, WCU totaled 454 yards (374 passing) in a losing effort. Meantime, Maryland totaled 471 (285 rushing, 186 passing) in its 52-7 romp of James Madison.
"We've got to adjust to that better and I thought we did after a while, and then we slacked off a little bit there in the fourth quarter," Taggart said. "It's being more aggressive and not playing so soft out on the edges."
ODDS AND ENDS: Mack's four rushing TDs Saturday tied USF's total in that category for all of 2013. ... Maryland's receivers coach is former Buccaneers WR Keenan McCardell, whose six TD catches led Tampa Bay's 2002 Super Bowl team. ... Taggart said he hopes the mid-afternoon heat will play to the Bulls' advantage Saturday (kickoff 3:30 p.m.), but temperatures in College Park, Md., are forecast to hit the low- to mid-90s all week.
AUDIBLE: "The offensive line did a good job of opening some holes and Marlon did a good job of helping set up the blocks. Once he hit the hole, he hit it. I thought he had great vision and great balance in running the ball, but his o-linemen did a great job of opening up some holes for him." -- Taggart on Mack's astounding collegiate debut