Taggart: Offense will work in time
TAMPA -- As he prepares to face what might be the nation's most pass-friendly offense, Coach Willie Taggart re-stated his belief in the more conventional one he's trying to implement in Tampa.
The Bulls (2-7, 2-3), who host SMU Saturday night, enter the game ranked 120th nationally in total offense (263.7 yards per game) with eight touchdowns all season.
Yet in an era of spreads, pistol formations and zone reads, Taggart's still committed to his power-based offense that employs the run to set up the play-action pass. What's more, he believes the philosophy will attract top-tier recruits.
"It's worked everywhere I've been; we've been able to get the kids to execute it," said Taggart, who'll face a Mustangs team ranked fifth nationally in pass offense (380.1).
"And we'll be able to get 'em here as well. I think what you're seeing with us is trying to operate with kids that were recruited for something else. And those kids will be better as we continue to move forward. But it's not hard to recruit those guys."
Until getting them, however, Taggart acknowledged USF could continue struggling to play from behind. The Bulls have trailed at halftime in seven of their nine games.
"Again, we don't have the personnel to (play from behind) right now," he said.
"I think we're limited at receiver; we've got to do a good job in recruiting to get some more receivers in here. ... I think once we get the personnel we'll be ready to play with any type of football that comes our way."
KLOSS MISS INEVITABLE: Taggart suggested Monday the Bulls rolled the dice far too often in terms of PK Marvin Kloss, who converted 13 consecutive field goals -- nine of 40 or more yards -- before missing two long tries in Saturday's loss to Memphis.
"He wanted to do his part and continue to have the success he was having kicking the football," Taggart said.
"But we've got to do a better job of putting Marvin in better situations. Eventually he's going to miss one of those 50-yard field goals, but a lot had to do with the snap on those holds."
OFFENSIVE STAMPEDE: The Bulls secondary, 87th nationally in pass-efficiency defense, faces arguably its stiffest challenge Saturday against Mustangs senior QB Garrett Gilbert.
The Texas transfer, who leads the nation in total yardage (405.7 per game) operates a ball-control passing attack that takes few shots downfield. Former Kentucky coach Hal Mumme, who transformed Tim Couch into a first-round draft choice, is coordinator.
Gilbert "is the best we've seen to this point," said Cincinnati coach Tommy Tuberville, who hasn't faced Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater.
"He gets the ball out of his hand quick. He's got the receivers that can catch the football. You can't stop them, you've just got to be able to slow them down and be able to keep them off the field as much as you can."