Taggart quotes from USF St .Petersburg luncheon
We'll have some football notes up later today, as Willie Taggart is doing a spring wrapup interview with reporters this afternoon, but first, I want to share a few other quotes from Taggart's appearance at USF St. Petersburg on Friday. Taggart spent about an hour taking questions from fans in attendance, and had some insightful answers to share ...
-- On the power of a loud, packed Raymond James Stadium: "It really does get you going. You hear people talk about 'On third down, get really loud.' It makes a difference. I remember in 2010, my first year at WKU, we came down here and played South Florida. I know one thing: That one end zone, where the students were, it was so loud, the quarterback kept saying 'Coach, they can't hear me.' I said 'You've got to find a way to do something. Tell the students to be quiet. Something!' That was a great atmosphere. I can remember coming out of that tunnel, looking at some of those USF players, thinking 'Geez, if I could ever get my hands on those guys.'"
-- On his QB situation after spring drills: "My quarterback situation. ... Bobby Eveld and Matt Floyd are the two leading candidates for that position right now. Both of those guys are learning our offense and have done a great job up to this point of leading our team and learning that offense. As spring ball went on, I saw both of those guys improve a lot. What we all saw in that spring game from Matt Floyd, I don't know if he's just one of those kids that, under the lights, just shows up. He really did make some really good throws in that game. They're still in the process of learning what we're doing offensively. One thing I like about both those kids is that they work really, really hard. Their time off, they don't go play video games. They go get the remote and learn football, or you look on the practice field and they're working on their craft. ... I will say this: Especially, Bobby Eveld has been everything I've wanted from a leadership standpoint. I think that's so important, not just the athletic ability, but being a leader at the quarterback position. I think both of those guys are capable of doing what we need them to do."
-- On living up to preseason expectations: "We're not going to allow anyone to label us. Let's label ourselves, by the way we go out and play. I believe we have some really, really good athletes here to really get the job done. We've got to do it. We can't rely on anyone else. We can't believe all the publications that are saying 'South Florida should be this, should be that.' Let's do it. I've seen that every year, when I wasn't here, to win the Big East. It's time for us to go do it."
-- On creating competition even in the classroom: "We compete in the classroom by position. We take the overall GPA for the position group, or offense/defense. Whoever has the highest GPA, we'll throw them a bone. All of our guys are required to go to breakfast check. You'd be very amazed at how excited for us to say 'You don't have to go to breakfast check." Something that small. We keep it competitive in everything we do. We really do believe competition helps you be successful."
-- On his appreciating the history of USF football and the humble early days: "I think it's so important that our kids that are there now understand there were people before you that helped you get to where you're at now. We're playing for more than just us. There's other people out there relying on us. We owe it to our former players to keep this thing rolling. I talk to a lot of them and all they say is 'I don't know how it got this fast.' Some of our guys don't understand the young tradition that we have. From Day 1, when they were in the trailer, had to walk about a mile to practice, understanding that a lot of people went through a lot to get us to where we're at. Now, we're in hog heaven. It's awesome. Our facility is great. Our kids don't have to want for anything. To be honest, I think that's part of the problem. They've been a little spoiled. Now, when it comes to asking for something, they all know the answer they get from me: You want something, do something. I'm going to make them appreciate what they have and the guys who came before us."