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Know the foe: Western Carolina



A look at Western Carolina, which faces the Bulls on Saturday at Raymond James Stadium

Nickname: Catamounts

Location: Cullowhee, N.C.

2013 record: 2-10

Coach:  Mark Speir (third season, 3-20)

The breakdown: Five Catamounts, at least two of them prominent starters, have been suspended for this game for various reasons. The most significant loss is junior WR Karnorris Benson, last year's top receiver (51 catches, 834 yards, 12 TDs). ... Despite an abysmal recent history, WCU, with only seven seniors on its roster, was picked fifth in the Southern Conference media and coaches preseason polls. ... Catamounts 6-foot QB Troy Mitchell, making his 15th career start, set a school record for a quarterback with eight rushing TDs in 2013. ... WCU appears pretty seasoned up front with the exception of 310-pound freshman LT Andrew Miles.  ... Defensively, the Catamounts start four sophomores and no freshmen. Junior ends John McBeth and Caleb Hawkins have combined for 33 starts. "They're really solid on the edges," Bulls offensive coordinator Paul Wulff said.

Odds and ends: The Catamounts have lost their last 21 road games dating to October 2010. ... WCU never has defeated a Division I team. Its official game-week release indicates a win at USF would "arguably be the biggest victory" in program history. ... Only two Catamounts are from Florida.

Taggart's take: "They can run the football and they've got some skill guys out at receiver. Not necessarily the tallest guys but quick, fast, they're competitive. You really watch when those guys play up a different level, they really play hard. They have some guys that will hit you on defense, they have a running back and quarterback that are very talented, and they do a lot of misdirections. They do some inside zone, but they'll run some option out of things they do and some unbalanced (stuff); some really good schemes. We've got to be disciplined as a defense in what we're doing and wrap up and contain the quarterback."

[Last modified: Tuesday, August 26, 2014 5:21pm]


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