Practice report: USF hopes to shine, not slip, on ESPN stage
Tuesday's practice report from Times correspondent Jeff Odom:
TAMPA -- USF coach Willie Taggart embraces the opportunity to have the national
spotlight on his team when it travels to American Athletic Conference opponent Houston
on Thursday night.
Taggart said it's a unique chance to show the country what his team can do, despite the
Bulls' winless record (0-9) on Thursday nights since a 51-10 win against Florida Atlantic in 2002.
USF is 2-14 all-time on ESPN, which is carrying the prime-time matchup.
"Guys have to want to show up and show out, that's what it is," Taggart said Tuesday.
"The spotlight does strange things to some people; it just does in football games. Some
people relish that moment and some people hide.
"We need a lot of people that want to go out there and make a name for themselves and
make a name for this university. That's what it takes, guys just fired up about going out
there and letting everyone know they can play football with the big boys."
LOW POINT: Monday marked exactly one month since USF's last offensive touchdown -- with two seconds remaining in a 49-21 loss against Miami.
"It's not like they're not trying, they're working hard," Taggart said. "They’re trying, they just have to stay focused. They've got to stay mentally focused throughout the entire game and focus on doing their job."
AVOID MISTAKES: Defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan said he was impressed with
the way his unit kept Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater under pressure Saturday, but is
disappointed with the amount of big plays given up.
The Bulls surrendered 485 yards in their 34-3 loss to the 20th-ranked Cardinals, but still
managed a season-high 11 tackles for loss and five sacks, best since last year's season-
opening win against Division I-AA Chattanooga.
"That's a frustrating deal, though," Bresnahan said. "We did get some pressure, we did
do some things that we wanted to do in the game. But then again, the explosive plays. It's
always offset. For every good one we had, we gave up a bad one and those things you can't
MEDICAL MATTERS: Taggart said senior HB Marcus Shaw (hamstring) will play on Thursday, barring any unexpected setbacks. Also, Taggart said OL Thor Jozwiak (irregular heartbeat) is out for the season after undergoing surgery last week. He is optimistic the redshirt sophomore will be healthy by spring workouts.