Taggart: WRs played the way they practiced
As many as six days before his receiving corp's collective breakout performance Saturday against Syracuse, Coach Willie Taggart said he sensed the unit was poised to transition from cameo performers to serious role players.
Bulls wide receivers teamed for 12 catches Saturday, only 10 fewer than their combined total through the first four games. Freshman Chris Barr (five catches, 37 yards) and sophomore Ryeshene Bronson (three catches, 81 yards, TD) both notched career-bests in receptions and yardage.
Taggart also said the group "did an unbelievable job blocking on the perimeter."
"I think it all started last Sunday when we went out in practice," Taggart said.
"I didn't see a ball on the ground. We completed 'em all, and I thought that was telling by itself. Then it continued throughout the week and then I talked to the guys about, we're gonna let it rip, and we expect for everybody to step up to the challenge and be the player that they all intended to be. And our guys did that."
NO KNOX UPDATE: Taggart reported no update on the status of backup OL Benjamin Knox, who remains suspended from all team activities following his arrest early Sunday morning on charges of shooting at the exterior of a campus residence hall.
As of early Monday afternoon, Knox, charged with two second-degree felonies, remains in jail on a $32,500 bond, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office website.
MACK, NICHOLS HONORED: TB Marlon Mack (21 carries, 179 yards, two TDs Saturday) and CB Deatrick Nichols (sack, forced fumble, two tackles for loss) were named to the
five-member AAC Honor Roll on Monday. Taggart said Nichols' effort, which included a career-best seven total tackles (five unassisted), was his best as a Bull.
"I thought (Nichols) played very physical, I thought both our corners played physical on the edge and did a great job of tackling," Taggart said. "I really thought the way Deatrick was playing really set the tone for our defense."
ODDS AND ENDS: The conference announced Monday the Bulls' Oct. 24 home game against SMU will kick off at 4 p.m. and will be televised live on ESPNews. ... After holding Syracuse to 73 yards on 33 carries, the Bulls now rank 28th nationally in run defense (119.4 ypg), a 16-spot leap from last week. ... Through five games, senior P Mattias Ciabatti leads the American and ranks 14th nationally with a 45.8-yard average. ... Sophomore Tajee Fullwood's punt-return average (11.2 yards) ranks second in the league.
AUDIBLE: "He is, to me, the profile of what you're looking for from a tangible-trait standpoint, for that offense. Strong, strong runner, but also a guy that can throw. He's not a wildcat quarterback, it's a legitimate guy that can move the ball around the field." -- UConn coach Bob Diaco on Bulls QB Quinton Flowers