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Taggart says Bulls defense must learn to finish

USF safety Nate Godwin (36) takes down Navy quarterback Will Worth (15) in the first  half of the Bulls' 52-45 victory Friday night.

OCTAVIO JONES | Times

USF safety Nate Godwin (36) takes down Navy quarterback Will Worth (15) in the first half of the Bulls' 52-45 victory Friday night.

31

October

After approving a handful of successful major defensive adjustments Friday night for Navy's triple-option, Coach Willie Taggart said one more significant modification is in order.

The Bulls' second-half mindset.

Speaking Monday on the American Athletic Conference weekly coaches teleconference, Taggart said he was a little disappointed in how his defense -- which held the Midshipment to 21 points through three periods -- took its foot off the gas in the fourth quarter of the Bulls' 52-45 triumph.

Trailing 45-21, Navy amassed 286 yards in the final 15 minutes, scoring touchdowns on all four of its possessions including a 9-yard TD pass on the game's last play.

"Part of it is human nature, but it can't be that way if you want to be great and you want to make a change in the perspective of what people think of you," said Taggart, whose defense is ranked 113th nationally (466.3 ypg) through nine weeks.

"You've got to step on people's throat and keep it that way, and having that killer instinct, I think that's what makes any good defense."

USF, which has a bye this weekend, will practice three days (Tuesday-Thursday) before adjourning until Sunday.

GOOD-HANDS BULLS: Taggart indicated he was very pleased with one of the more overlooked units of Friday's win -- USF's good-hands team on Navy's late kickoffs. The Bulls recovered all three of the Midshipmen's fourth-quarter onside attempts, with TE Kano Dillon getting two.

"It was great," Taggart said. "All that work (in practice) paid off. ... Not a lot of people talk about that, but that was huge in this ball game."

NIGHT KICKOFF FOR USF-MEMPHIS: The AAC announced Monday the Bulls' Nov. 12 game at Memphis will kick off at 7 p.m. and will be televised on ESPNU. It marks the fourth consecutive 7 p.m. kickoff for the Bulls.

ODDS AND ENDS: QB Quinton Flowers, who posted the second-highest yardage total (395) of his career Friday night, was named the College Football Performance Awards (CFPA) National Performer of the Week. He also made the Davey O'Brien Award's "Great 8" weekly national list and the AAC's weekly honor roll. Flowers ranks 14th nationally in total offense (318 ypg) through nine weeks. ... USF is seventh nationally in rushing offense (272.9 ypg) and ninth in scoring (43.4 ppg). The Bulls are 106th in run defense (218.6 ypg). ... The AAC is the nation's only Division I conference in which every team has at least three wins.

AUDIBLE: "Absolutely. I think he's one of the better football players in the country. He's just one of those kids that hasn't gotten as much attention, and not a lot of folks are paying a lot of attention to him, but you watch the last two games (on national TV), I think he showed a lot of people what he's capable of doing." -- Taggart, when asked Monday if it's time for Flowers to receive some Heisman consideration

[Last modified: Monday, October 31, 2016 1:20pm]

    

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