USF players react to McNeese State loss
I had family in town this weekend, so just getting around to posting some reaction from USF players after the team's humbling 53-21 loss to I-AA McNeese State. USF made five players available to the media -- starting QB Matt Floyd, who threw two costly interceptions and was relieved by Bobby Eveld in the third quarter, was requested but not made available, nor was defensive end Aaron Lynch, who had three tackles in his USF debut.
-- RB Marcus Shaw: The senior rushed for a career-best 145 yards, but his costly fumble inside USF's 10-yard line was one of three Bulls turnovers that led to McNeese touchdowns. He carried a ball to the podium for his postgame interview and acknowledged that three key turnovers that led to 21 McNeese points were a big part of USF's loss: "Same mistakes we had last year, turnovers, that's what wrong," he said.
Having said that, he wasn't entirely accountable for his own fumble -- asked if a McNeese player had stripped the ball, as replays indicated: "Honestly, I don't know. I can't explain, because I feel I didn't fumble. I don't want to talk about it, really." Asked to clarify, he said he thought his knee was down, though the fumble was reviewed by officials and the initial ruling (a fumble before his knee touched the ground) was upheld.
Asked if he was surprised that USF coach Willie Taggart said he felt like players had quit during the game, were tapping out saying they were tired, Shaw said he ... wasn't surprised. "I wouldn't say I was surprised," he said. "I didn't think it would happen like that, because of all the hard work we put in."
-- QB Bobby Eveld: Eveld threw two touchdowns in the second half in relief of starter Matt Floyd, who a week earlier had beaten him out for the starting QB nod. Taggart had said he didn't want Floyd to feel like he needed to look over his shoulder, that the job wasn't going to be up for grabs every week, but he pulled his starter after interceptions on the final pass of the first half and the first pass of the second.
Asked if he expected to be the starting QB on Saturday at Michigan State, Eveld said it was up to Taggart. "We'll see what Coach Taggart has to say," he said. "If he wants me to play, I'll be ready."
Floyd was selected as a team captain, but Eveld was put in a position where he was asked about how Floyd handled the adversity of being pulled from the game. "He was a little down, because he gets down on himself when he throws interceptions or makes bad plays, because he's a competitor," Eveld said. "He wanted to win, too. I think he's going to be OK. He has a bunch of good teammates who are going to build his confidence back up. I'm sure he'll be fine."
-- LB DeDe Lattimore: Defensive captain said McNeese capitalized on every mistake USF made, but was confident his team can bounce back. "I can tell you one thing: We're going to get it right. We're going to get everything corrected," he said.
-- LB Reshard Cliett: Junior had a team-best eight tackles -- we quoted him in the game story as saying the Bulls had a lof of "self-inflicted wounds" and reiterated that "we have to have each other's backs." Asked what Taggart said in the locker room after the loss: "He just told us not to quit. We have a long season ahead of us, a long way to go. We have to watch film and get better."
-- S Mark Joyce: We quoted him in game story, talking about staring at the scoreboard after the game to burn it in his memory. As a senior, how does he get a young team to not dwell on this loss and let it carry over to other games? "It's going to be tough," he said. "We have to come in, watch film, see all of our mistakes, our mental mistakes and our physical mistakes. We didn't tackle very well. We have to work on that. We have to come together and stay as a tight team, to pick each other up when we need it." Asked what went wrong, he said "communication was subpar and tackling was subpar."