Quinton Flowers back at Bulls practice
Two days after becoming a father for the first time, Bulls QB Quinton Flowers returned to practice Wednesday.
A return to form is next on the agenda.
After a dazzling opening play against FSU, in which he hit Rodney Adams in stride for an 84-yard touchdown, Flowers went 4-of-13 the rest of the way in the Bulls' 55-35 loss. His 35.7-percent completion rate was his worst in 18 career starts, and both his interceptions occurred on first down.
"It was all decision," said Coach Willie Taggart, whose team plays at Cincinnati in its American Athletic Conference opener Saturday. "It was one of those things where you make up your mind before you throw the ball and you just can't do that."
Though his season efficiency rating (157.3) ranks third in the AAC, Flowers' completion percentage (51.7) ranks last among league quarterbacks with at least 50 attempts. On the flip side, no league quarterback has more rushing yards (49 carries, 309 yards).
"I think he tried a little too hard the last game," co-offensive coordinator T.J. Weist said. "You try too hard to make plays at times, you really get off schedule from a quarterback standpoint. I think that's what he's got to do."
ALL IN THE DETAILS: First-year defensive coordinator Raymond Woodie, whose unit surrendered a program-record 478 rushing yards against FSU, said Wednesday the nuances of tackling have been a focus this week.
CB Deatrick Nichols concurred. "Oh, we've been doing tackling all week," he said. "And just going back to the basics really. ... Eyes through the thighs, everything like that."
Woodie indicated the plan is for him to remain in the coaches box, where he has spent the first four contests.
"Like I said, I've been in the box before and we're gonna keep plugging, we're gonna keep doing the little things," he said. "You do the little things, everything else is gonna work itself out."
SCALING BACK? With the Bulls down a tailback now that Darius Tice (ankle) is presumably out for the year, Weist suggested Wednesday the special-teams workload of junior D'Ernest Johnson could be scaled back.
That likely will occur on kick coverage, where Johnson has five tackles. His 493 all-purpose yards -- including 112 on punt returns -- ranks second on the team.
"He's on too many special teams," Weist said. "He's too valuable to the team. Now we're at a point where we've got to pull him back a little bit so he can be a little more valuable as a running back and some other things, as a punt returner and things like that."
ODDS AND ENDS: After being poked in the left eye against FSU, TB Marlon Mack said he'll wear a visor Saturday at Cincinnati. ... After making 10 catches his first three games, 6-foot-5 WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling was targeted once (an incompletion) against FSU. "Some things just happen like that," Weist said. "We have a plan where we try to get the ball to our playmakers, and you'd never really think -- or we'd never plan to say -- we're gonna have one wide-receiver catch the first play of the game, and five completions total." ... With Tice out, don't be shocked if freshman TB Trevon Sands gets some handoffs Saturday. "He's small (5-11, 201), but he actually likes to run like he's got the power behind him," Mack said. "He runs hard, he's fast too, and he likes to run inside."