Taggart: Flowers, Johnson "getting better by the day"
As expected, Bulls QB Quinton Flowers (thigh) and TB D'Ernest Johnson (knee), both of whom were banged up in Saturday's 38-14 romp of SMU, were held out of Sunday's practice, Coach Willie Taggart said.
The Bulls are off today, and Taggart suggested both could return to practice on at least a limited basis Tuesday. The Bulls (4-3, 2-1 American Athletic Conference) travel to Annapolis, Md., on Saturday for a noon encounter with Navy (5-1, 3-0).
"They are getting better by the day," Taggart said Monday on the weekly American coaches teleconference.
"Sunday, they both were really, really sore. I saw both of the guys today and they're walking a lot better, feeling a lot better. I think as each day goes by they'll continue to get better, but (they're) a lot better than they were on Saturday."
Meantime, TB Marlon Mack, who felt tightness in his hamstring during pregame work Saturday and didn't play, returned to practice Sunday "and looked like the old Marlon Mack," Taggart said.
"That was good to see, that he was able to go out and run around and do some things with our guys without having any issues with his hamstring," Taggart added.
FLOWERS SNUB? In terms of weekly accolades, Flowers' legs couldn't trump the arm of Memphis' Paxton Lynch.
Flowers, whose 201-yard effort Saturday established an AAC record for quarterbacks, was bypassed for the league's Offensive Player of the Week honors in favor of Lynch, who threw for a school-record 447 yards (and four TDs) in the Tigers' 66-42 romp of Tulsa. Flowers made the American's weekly honor roll.
Defensively, Bulls senior husky Jamie Byrd (10 tackles, two forced fumbles, two sacks vs. SMU) lost out to Temple's Tyler Matakevich, who had 13 tackles, a sack and an interception in the Owls' 24-14 triumph at East Carolina.
ODDS AND ENDS: The Bulls' Nov. 7 contest at East Carolina will kick off at 7:30 p.m. and will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network, the conference announced Monday. ... In their latest weekly bowl projections, both ESPN's Mark Schlabach (St. Pete Bowl) and Brett McMurphy (Miami Beach Bowl) pick USF to face FIU in the postseason. Only Schlabach projected USF for a bowl last week. ... USF now ranks ninth nationally in tackles for loss (8.1 per game) after registering eight more against SMU. ... On the AAC teleconference, Mustangs coach Chad Morris said his team's performance Saturday was "the worst we've played all year offensively. I think a lot of that (is) credit to South Florida. I think they're really good up front defensively and definitely outmatched us in some areas." ... Tampa Bay Tech alumnus Tajee Fullwood, who set up a Bulls fourth-quarter TD Saturday with a 45-yard punt return, now ranks sixth nationally with a 16.6-yard return average.
AUDIBLE: "I wouldn't say that because when I was at Western we didn't win, so I don't know if we're gonna go with that game plan." -- Taggart, when asked if coaching in the past against Navy would help him with preparations this week (Taggart's 2011 Western Kentucky team lost to the Midshipmen, 40-14.)