Taggart: Veterans still ahead in QB competition
Finishing up the first week of fall practice, USF coach Willie Taggart said Sunday morning that returning quarterbacks Bobby Eveld and Matt Floyd still have an edge on newcomers Steven Bench and Mike White in the battle for the Bulls' starting job.
"You can tell that Bobby and Matt have been exposed to the offense. They understand what we're doing a lot better than Mike and Steven," Taggart said. "When Steven and Mike know exactly what to do, you should see where they can be really effective. It's just a matter of learning the system and how fast they can learn the system and not be afraid to make mistakes here early. But also being smart and not trying to force things."
Taggart puts a premium on reducing turnovers, so he has to distinguish between mistakes made as a function of learning the offenses and unnecessary fumbles and interceptions.
"I think that's what you get with a lot of young guys that don't know the system and they're trying to compete and want to make all the big plays," he said. "That's not always the best thing. We like big plays, but we want to be efficient and not give the ball away. Our younger guys really understand that. They're all getting better. Right now, I'd say Matt and Bobby are ahead of those guys as of now, but we have some more practices this week. They're not far behind, but when things are going fast, we have a lot of shifting and motion, those guys have to understand what they're doing."
-- USF had a live period in full pads with the younger players "to see what they could do," and Taggart said he was pleased with some of the individual efforts.
"On offense, I thought Darius Tice did some good things," he said. "I thought Mike White made some really good throws throughout that. On the defensive side of the ball, Lamar Robbins did well. I saw Nate Godwin come up and make some tackles. And our two big biscuits at d-tackle, (Derrick) Calloway and Deadrin Senat, those guys did some good things in there too. It was really good to see."
For a true freshman to maximize playing immediately and shedding a redshirt, special teams is a way to get more from a first season -- running back Sta'fon McCray has gotten a look on kickoffs, cornerback Hassan Childs on punt returns, and fullback Auggie Sanchez on several units. Taggart reiterated that he'll use everyone -- including offensive and defensive starters -- to improve his special teams.
"They're going to have to, not only those guys but a lot of our guys," Taggart said. "We want to have one of the best special teams in the country. We have some really good athletes, and there's no limit to who can and can't play on special teams. For those freshman, for a lot of them, that's a way for them to play, but some of them are actually going to play a (offensive/defensive) role."