Q&A: Sheridan talks about USF quarterbacks
You guys want an answer on who USF's starting quarterback will be, but it's just not there yet -- if it doesn't come today or Friday, there's no weekend access, so it could very well be Monday (when Willie Taggart is on the American coaches' teleconference, then his first radio show at night) if not Tuesday, when Taggart has his first game-week media news conference -- that'd be my hunch right now.
Having said that, we were able to get USF quarterbacks coach Nick Sheridan before practice on Wednesday night, and while there's not an answer -- read closely, you won't hear a single quarterback mentioned once by name -- we'll offer up what he said verbatim so you can read as much into it as you'd like. ...
Q: To start out, we'll ask about Tuesday's scrimmage, just who showed you something and made the most of the opportunity:
A: I think they all did some good things. Certainly we had some room for improvement. Really, no one stood out and did exceptionally well over any of the others. No one did particularly poor either. I think they all did some good things. They keep working and competing. No decision will be made off last night's scrimmage. They all did some good things.
Q: Do you have a sense when you'd like -- privately or publicly -- to have a starter in place?
A: In conversations with Coach Taggart, I think hopefully by the end of the week or the beginning of next week, we'll have come to a decision as a staff in this program. Whether or not Coach T feels compelled to let that out publicly or not ... hopefully, by the end of the week, we'll have gone with a guy.
Q: Inversely, is there a date you have to have a decision by?
A: I don't know if there's a particular date, just whenever we feel it's the best time to name a guy.
Q: Have you ruled out the possibility of rotating these guys in throughout a game?
A: That's really moreso Coach's decision as far as how he wants to handle that. I know Coach is kind of against that, would prefer to have one guy go out there and take a majority of the snaps. That's the route we're hoping to go. I would anticipate that's what Coach will (do).
Q: What are you seeing, progression-wise, from the returners and the new guys?
A: I think they're all battling their tail off, all competing. We have a complicated system and there's a lot put on their shoulders. Each day, they're just trying to get better, grasp what we're trying to do, make good decisions, take care of the football. They've all done a good job, they're all getting better. They just continue to work to try to get better every day.
Q: Once you figure out who's where in the hierarchy of things, you've got three of the top four with redshirts available. Is it possible that more than one of those could redshirt if they're not in the top two?
A: Some of those redshirt decisions are made kind of in the later part of the season. You really don't know how the season's going to turn out. A guy might get dinged up or what have you. We really don't make those decisions until after the fact. We just try to get guys ready to play and win with. We're trying to develop all of them the same.
Q: Coach Taggart said this morning it's been disappointing there hasn't been one guy who's grabbed the starting job and run with it, made it an easy decision for him. Is that a function of lots of guys playing well, or just something where no one has emerged from the group?
A: I think it's just a function of some inconsistency. Guys have good days on some where you may think that a guy's kind of emerging, then the next day he might not have quite as good of a day. We're really looking for a guy that consistently makes good decisions, takes care of the ball. That's what we keep striving for and looking for. That's what that is.
Q: Is this a two-man race, or still wide-open?
A: It's still wide-open. All of them are getting reps still. There's been different times of camp where guys have gotten reps with different groups. We're still looking for a guy to make good decisions, consistently take care of the ball and help move the offense. We're still looking for that guy. We feel like we've got guys here that can do it. We just need a guy that does it more consistently, day in and day out, practice in and practice out.
Q: When you guys get into game preparation at this stage, do you step back at all, not knowing if you're giving the guy who's going to start (next) Saturday enough reps?
A: I don't think we're quite to that time yet, where we feel like we're stunting preparation. We try to develop all of our guys. All of our guys should prepare like they're a starter whether they are or they aren't. We don't feel like we're at a date yet where our game plan's really going to aggressively change with whoever's taking the snap. We're not quite there yet. Certainly, probably next week if we still had a four-man battle going, it would be difficult to get a starter a proper number of reps. We're not quite there yet.