Blue collar: Taggart punches in for USF camp
USF coach Willie Taggart talks plenty about having a blue-collar mentality for his football team, and as his players took the field for their first fall practice Monday, he's dressing the part.
Taggart proudly wore a blue uniform shirt -- like you might see on an old-school gas-station attendant -- complete with a white-and-green patch bearing the name "Willie."
"Blue-collar shirt. This pretty much represents our football team and what we want to be," Taggart said. "To me, that's who USF is. They started off in the trailers, didn't have these beautiful practice fields. I told our guys, there's somebody that we know in our family that worked really hard to get us to where we're at. There's someone in this program that worked really hard to get us to where we're at today. We need to appreciate them and show them we appreciate what they did."
EVELD AHEAD: The Bulls' QB competition will continue over the next 26 days before the season opener against McNeese State, but as USF opened practice Monday, it was senior Bobby Eveld getting the initial snaps with the No. 1 offense, with sophomore Matt Floyd working with the 2s.
SPLIT SQUAD: For the opening three days of camp -- before the Bulls put pads on -- USF will have a split squad for drills, with freshmen and other backups with class conflicts in the final week of summer classes going two hours earlier than the veterans.
"Our coaches can really concentrate on the younger guys," Taggart said. "When you bring them all together, sometimes they can get slighted. We can't afford to slight those guys."
Taggart said he has the right to move players up early from the freshman workouts if they show they're ready to practice with the veterans.
MORNING RUN: Taggart said the Bulls were out on the practice field at 5:30 a.m. for a conditioning test all players must pass at the start of camp. The drills were actually delayed by darkness, as the field lights wouldn't initially come on before sunrise.
"We all have cellphones. Turn them on," joked Taggart. "We can get some light in there. (The test) went really well. We have what we call 'four quarters,' taking them through different running things in each quarter. It's a beast. It was good to see guys go out and compete and make their times. Some guys didn't make it, and they'll continue to run it until they do make it. If you can't run that running test, you can't play for us, can't help us win ballgames."