Flowers says he's back to normal
While a discrepancy seemingly exists over which part of Quinton Flowers' left leg is banged up, the sophomore quarterback and Coach Willie Taggart agree he's progressing nicely.
"I'd say I'm back to doing what I usually do," Flowers said after Tuesday morning's practice.
Flowers was injured on his final play two Saturdays ago against SMU and indicated he felt about "80 percent" in Saturday's 29-17 loss at Navy. In two separate interviews Tuesday, including one with radio station 620-AM, Taggart referred to Flowers' knee when discussing his status. Flowers told reporters, 'It's not my knee, it's my thigh."
Regardless, Taggart said he was reassured by how Flowers practiced Tuesday.
"I saw him take off today and was like, 'Okay, we'll be okay. We'll be fine. He's back,'" Taggart said.
"And we needed for Quinton to feel better and confident in himself and his knee. Just looking back on last week's game, that was the first time the kid's ever been hurt. The first time. I think he was concerned about it a lot, but I'm glad it's overwith now and each day he's gotten better."
KICK COMPETITION: As he indicated immediately following Saturday's loss, Taggart has re-opened the place-kicker competition between sophomore Emilio Nadelman and Tarpon Springs High alumnus Michael Hill. Nadelman, 6-for-11 on field-goal tries this season, had two misses at Navy including a 32-yarder.
"We've put some pressure on 'em in practice," Taggart said. "Guys have got to make field goals or the whole team's gonna pay for it, just like we do on Saturdays. ... So we put the accountability back on 'em and put the pressure on 'em in a lot of live situations, and the best guy goes. But it's been going well."
PIRATES HEALING...SORT OF: Though East Carolina coach Ruffin McNeill indicated Monday leading rusher Chris Hairston (591 yards, seven TDs) should return Saturday from a lower-leg injury, the Pirates (4-5, 2-3) remain one of the American Athletic Conference's most injury-besieged teams. Projected starting QB Kurt Benkert (torn knee ligament) was lost in preseason camp, and two starting offensive linemen and a linebacker remain on the shelf, the Greenville (N.C.) Daily Reflector reported.
ODDS AND ENDS: With 29 rushing yards Saturday, Marlon Mack (1,759 career yards) moves into fifth place on the Bulls' all-time list. TE Sean Price needs only 15 receiving yards to break Cedric Hill's 7-year-old mark for career yardage by a tight end (774). ... In its five losses, East Carolina has totaled seven points in the third quarter. ... Rick Smith, the Bulls' secondary coach in the Skip Holtz era, remains ECU's defensive coordinator. ... Dave Ryan (play-by-play), Corey Chavous (analysis) and Lauren Gardner (sideline) will handle the CBS Sports Network broadcast of Saturday's game. ... USF has scored first in its last six games, and in seven of eight contests overall.
AUDIBLE: "Like I said before, I put that game on me. Didn't make a lot of the right reads. I was thinking about the injury I had and I shouldn't. ... I fault myself on offense and can't do it again." -- Flowers on the loss at Navy