Taggart: Bulls need to be stronger by fall
TAMPA -- Given time to reflect on his first spring of football at USF, coach Willie Taggart said Wednesday that his players, across the board, need to be busy in the weight room between now and the start of fall training camp.
"One big thing, we've got to get stronger as a football team," said Taggart, speaking to reporters for the first time since after the Bulls' spring game on April 13. "That's going to be a big emphasis, stronger and faster. That's huge. With what we're going to ask our guys to do, we've got to get stronger."
Taggart said he was pleased with the overall level of understanding and progress in terms of players learning a new offense and defense, but said in watching video of practices and scrimmages, his players aren't physically where he needs them to be.
"You look at the numbers in the weight room, (and) you see where it shows up on film," Taggart said. "Our guys give great effort and it gives you a chance. You just say 'If they were a lot stronger with that effort, we'd be a lot better.' You can make big strides (in a summer). You're not going to get all to where you want to be, but you can get better than where you're at."
In early January, USF brought in a former Stanford colleague of Taggart's, Hans Straub, as head strength coach, and Taggart and other Bulls coaches have already praised the strength staff for the work done this spring.
THIS AND THAT: Taggart said that his running back position is a "work in progress" after spring -- none of his top three running backs averaged better than 3.0 yards per carry in the spring game, and Taggart reiterated that running back is a position where a true freshman -- like signees Sta'fon McCray or Darius Tice -- might be able to contribute this fall. ... Asked which cornerbacks had shown him the most this spring, the first name Taggart mentioned was senior walk-on Brandon Salinas, who returned to the team this spring after sitting out the 2012 season. He had two tackles in 2011. ... Asked which positions he's most comfortable with, Taggart pointed to his defensive line, which has strong depth at end and tackle. He mentioned linebackers and offensive line next.