Taggart: Bulls will embrace preseason acclaim
He's not banning his players from Barnes & Noble. No moratorium on magazines has been enforced.
To the contrary, Willie Taggart wants his guys to bask in the glossy, full-color flattery bestowed upon them by the litany of preseason college football magazines.
"Embrace it," the Bulls coach told reporters at his "Kickoff with Coach Taggart" booster function Tuesday evening at Brandon's TopGolf entertainment venue and driving range. "That's what we want."
While that perspective flies in the face of the paranoia shared by many peers leery of their team developing overconfidence, Taggart said it sure beats the alternative.
"The first two years, all they talked about was us (stinking). We don't like to hear that. We want to get outta that," said Taggart, set to address boosters again Thursday at The Canopy Rooftop Lounge in St. Petersburg.
"No one's talking about our football team (stinks) anymore. They're talking about the progress we made and the potential that we have going forward. That's part of the whole process, and for me that's exciting because the things we set out to do are starting to happen."
So far, three publications -- Athlon Sports, Lindy's and ESPN -- have picked USF to win the American Athletic Conference's East Division, with The Sporting News projecting USF to place second behind Temple. RB Marlon Mack is a consensus first-team preseason All-AAC pick.
"For me it's just making sure our guys are staying focused on what we said we're gonna do from Day 1," Taggart said.
"We're just gonna keep building because we haven't done anything yet. They always say you're only as good as your last game; our last game (the Miami Beach Bowl) we lost. So our guys still have a chip on their shoulder and we haven't done anything. We want to win a conference championship; we didn't get to do that."