Floyd-to-Davis for 2 TDs in 14-11 spring-game win
TAMPA -- Sophomore Matt Floyd offered up the pros and the cons for his case to be USF's starting quarterback in Saturday's spring game, connecting for two touchdowns to Andre Davis but also fumbling four snaps, three of which the defense recovered.
His touchdown throws -- including an 85-yarder on his first offensive play -- sparked the White team's 14-11 victory before an announced crowd of 4,606 at Raymond James Stadium. But his continued struggles with snap exchanges, carrying over from last season, remain a problem.
"Matt threw some good balls in there. One area that was a concern was diminishing the fumbled snaps. Too many balls on the ground," Taggart said. "I thought Matt did some really good things today. Like I told him all spring, you put that ball on the ground, it takes away from all the good things you did. ... Fumbled snap, defense recovered the ball. That will get you beat. We can't turn the football over."
Floyd said the snap exchanges are "something we will work on all summer long, for sure." He finished the game 9-for-16 for 208 yards, hitting Davis on his first play and again on a 1-yard strike with nine seconds left in the first half. Senior Bobby Eveld, who Taggart had said was "leading the pack" in spring, went 14-for-24 for 143 yards and an interception, getting a 1-yard rushing touchdown with 0:06 left in the game. Taggart said Eveld played "not as well as I thought he would play," but the quarterback felt good about his progress.
"Turning the ball over, that's never acceptable, but other than that, I think I had a pretty decent day," said Eveld, who also caught a 10-yard pass. "I think overall, our team made a ton of progress. I'm very happy with where we are, but at the same time, we've got a long way to go."
WHERE'S THE RUN: Taggart's offense has produced some prolific running backs -- four straight years with a 1,600-yard rusher -- but with the offensive lines split between two squads, yards were hard to come by Saturday. The team's top two backs, Marcus Shaw and Mike Pierre, combined for 47 yards on 21 carries, with a long of 10 yards, while Willie Davis rushed for 39 yards on 15 carries.
FLAGS FLYING: The Green squad had a decided advantage in penalties -- 10 flags for 99 yards, compared to three for 30 on the White squad. That included five false starts, two pass interference penalties and a pair of personal fouls. Taggart wasn't pleased with defensive end Julius Forte getting a celebration penalty to negate a 10-yard sack, but he didn't seem to mind linebacker Hans Louis' flag for a hard hit on Davis that drew a flag.
"Too many penalties. False starts. Penalties you can control," Taggart said. "It's just a lack of focus. We have to learn to play with fatigue. But these are things we can correct. I saw good things on both sides of the ball."
STEPPING UP: Junior Hans Louis, pressed into a starting role after an injury, had a game-high six tackles, with two tackles for loss and a fumble recovery. Another seldom-used junior, defensive tackle Demi Thompson, had five tackles, with two for losses and a fumble recovery. ... Walk-on Mattias Ciabatti made his case to be the team's punter this fall, averaging 41.4 yards on seven punts. Freshman Emilio Nadelman averaged 34.2 yards on his four attempts. ... Linebacker Reshard Cliett had an interception, impressive when you consider that USF had two as a team in 2012.