VERO BEACH — Two weeks before USF's season opener, coach Willie Taggart stopped short of saying he has a two-man battle for the starting quarterback job, but Bobby Eveld and Matt Floyd's familiarity from spring continues to keep them ahead of the competition.
"I don't want to sell those other guys short," Taggart said. "I really want to continue to let them compete, and I also want to continue to see Bobby and Matt continue to compete. I want to see us get better. I want to limit those mistakes. Those will kill us in the fall. That's one thing we're looking for: guys to make plays and not hurt us."
Taggart's quandary: Floyd, a sophomore, is making more plays than the senior Eveld, but he also is making more mistakes. Taggart puts a premium on limiting turnovers, which is where Eveld, a Jesuit High grad, has an edge.
"Matt has made some really great plays this training camp, but he's also made some really bad plays. We're trying to get him to be consistent," Taggart said. "Bobby, you can tell he really understands the offense. He probably hasn't made as many plays as Matt, but he hasn't made as many bad plays as Matt.
"It's kind of been up and down, and every day it's something different. One of them does something and (I think), 'I'm going to be okay.' Then 'Oh, man. Why would you do that?' That's the beauty of training camp. You get it all out of the way now."
Sophomore Steven Bench, a transfer from Penn State, was held out of Saturday's live drills after rolling an ankle Friday; Taggart said he should return to practice shortly. True freshman Mike White played during open practice, as did redshirt freshman walk-on Tommy Eveld (Jesuit High), Bobby's brother.
The Bulls scored two touchdowns in live practice: Floyd scored on a scramble to his left, and Tommy Eveld threw a touchdown pass to walk-on TE Spencer Adkinson.
Notables injured but in position to return by the Aug. 31 opener against McNeese State: DE Julius Forte from Boca Ciega High, who had minor knee surgery; S Jalen Spencer (shoulder) and WR Chris Dunkley (ankle).
FAN FEST TODAY: The annual Fan Fest is 2-4 p.m. today at Raymond James Stadium, with players and coaches available for photos and autographs. Team posters will be given away for signatures at the free event, and fans can bring up to two "outside" items to be signed. All autographs will be personalized.
THIS AND THAT: Taggart made it clear true freshman CB Lamar Robbins, challenging for a starting role, will definitely play this fall. DT Derrick Calloway is another strong candidate, and S Nate Godwin, out of Freedom High, has a shot and was working with the No. 2 defense Saturday. Taggart expects some combination of his freshman tailbacks (Darius Tice and Sta'fon McCray) and fullbacks (Northeast High's Auggie Sanchez and Kennard Swanson) to play as well.