Eye on the Tigers: Bulls applaud Missouri players
Even as they focus on 21st-ranked Temple, USF's players and coaches have cast a periodic gaze to a program a time zone away.
Like the rest of the nation, the Bulls followed the stand of solidarity against campus racism taken by Missouri's football team, which boycotted team activities until university president Timothy Wolfe's resignation. On Tuesday, two veteran USF players, WR Rodney Adams and MLB Auggie Sanchez, applauded the Tigers' acts.
"I think it's awesome," Sanchez said.
"I read that and that's a pretty huge step, for a football team to just say we're not gonna play until (Wolfe steps down)," Adams said. "It takes some pretty big...guts to do something like that."
Coach Willie Taggart, meantime, praised Tigers coach Gary Pinkel for standing behind his team, suggesting he'd act similarly if a protest was done "for the right reasons."
"It showed those guys that (Pinkel) cares about 'em and he's for 'em," Taggart said. "He has their back. I think we all, as coaches, that's what we tell our guys all the time: We've got their back and we're with 'em do or die, and that's how it should be."
BITTERSWEET VICTORY: Upon reaching the end zone following his 67-yard catch-and-run TD in Saturday's 22-17 win at East Carolina, Adams took a knee, bowed his head, then started blowing kisses in the air.
Four days prior to scoring that game-winner, Adams observed the 2-year anniversary of his mother's death. Michelle Conway Scott, single mom to Adams and his younger brother, died in a car accident outside Atlanta.
"The week had been tough for me, knowing that my mom passed that same week, and I just wanted to score a touchdown for her," said Adams, who finished with four catches for
a game-high 95 yards. "It was a tough week, tough week for me."
ODDS AND ENDS: A victory Saturday would be the Bulls' first against a ranked team since the 23-20 season-opening win at Notre Dame in 2011. ... Temple WLB Tyler Matakevich, the NCAA's active career leader in tackles (442), has led the Owls in tackles every game this year. "He's a bad---," Taggart said. ... Jefferson High alumnus Ventell Bryant returns to his hometown Saturday as Temple's second-leading receiver (28 catches, 371 yards, two TDs). ... In five road games this season, Temple has trailed only 43 minutes, 31 seconds. USF, by contrast, has scored first in all four of its home contests.
AUDIBLE: "I think I asked those ones that have been coming to bring a friend. Bring a neighbor. Bring the dogs if we can get them in there, too; let 'em bark. But bring someone, bring someone new. I think that's how you get it going. But I think it starts with our student section, first and foremost. We get our students there and help build this thing from the inside-out and then we'll get everyone else to come and be a part of it too." -- Taggart lobbying for a season-high turnout Saturday at Raymond James Stadium