TAMPA — Shortly after what may have been his final snaps as a Bulls quarterback Saturday, Bobby Eveld exited Raymond James Stadium on crutches. With neither a grimace nor an entourage, he trudged off quietly.
The symbolism was as crisp as Teddy Bridgewater's spirals had been all afternoon.
How many times in his statistically modest career could Eveld have walked away from USF's program on his own power? How many people would've blamed him?
From separated shoulders to dinged-up ankles to fractured hopes, the fourth-year senior has been battered. Like a volatile stock, he rose and tumbled on the depth chart. One year, he was being awarded a scholarship. The next, he was being robbed of a redshirt.
But the next whimper you hear from Eveld will be the first. Instead of fleeing to a Division II school with a grudge, he'll hobble gracefully from the program to which he walked on in 2010.
The public may remember the mediocrity; teammates will remember a model Bull.
"He had the respect of his teammates and he played for all of us and for the fans also," junior LT Darrell Williams said. "He was a great teammate and I wish his senior year would've gone better."
Eveld's latest setback is a high-ankle sprain, notorious for taking weeks to fully heal. If he doesn't re-take the field, he'll finish with 1,292 passing yards, a 48.8 completion percentage (120-for-246), five TDs, nine interceptions and zero tantrums.
The apex: a sparkling second-half relief appearance (8-for-15, 120 yards) in 2010 at Miami. Six months removed from his Jesuit High graduation, Eveld rallied the Bulls to a 23-20 overtime win.
He has made six total starts since. Two years later, Skip Holtz abruptly scrapped his plans to redshirt Eveld, starting him at Miami in the season's 10th game for an injured B.J. Daniels. On the day's second possession, Eveld separated his shoulder.
Alas, that might be the on-field epilogue for Eveld — far more ebb than flow. But coaches and teammates would prefer the lasting snapshot be an image from Monday's practice, when Eveld joined the rest of the Bulls in shorts and jerseys.
"He was helping (freshman QB) Mike White," CB Fidel Montgomery said. "I guess he was just being (White's) backbone."
"Bobby's a team player," coach Willie Taggart said. "He wants to win for this program, he loves this program, he loves his teammates. And he tries to do everything within his power to help … this program."
CONCERN FOR COLLINS? Five days before USF's only public exhibition game, PG Anthony Collins' surgically mended left knee still is swelling to a degree. So is concern among the Bulls staff.
Tuesday, coach Stan Heath said Collins remains limited in practice, estimating he's 70-75 percent at this point. Initially, Collins, who insists he's getting better, was expected to miss no more than a week to 10 days of preseason drills.
"And it's turned into a month," said Heath, who was still unsure if Collins will play Monday against Barry. "So yeah, I am a little bit (concerned). I don't know why it's taking this long and I'm a little baffled by it, but I do think he's going to be fine."
THREE-PEAT: Bulls sophomore outside hitter Erin Fairs, whose team (13-10, 7-2) is riding a five-match win streak, has pulled off a feat that might go unmatched for some time.
On Monday, Fairs was named American Athletic Conference player of the week for the third week in a row. Fairs, whose team has moved into second place in the league, has seven consecutive double doubles. Her 3.67 kills per set lead the conference.
BULLS BITS: The women's soccer team (9-4-5, 4-3-2) earned a No. 5 seed in the American tournament and travels Sunday to fourth-seeded Connecticut for a quarterfinal match. … Behind individual runnerup Richard James (6-under 210), the men's golf team won the three-day Ocean Course Invitational, which ended Tuesday on Kiawah Island, S.C. The Bulls had an 871 team score, four strokes better than South Alabama.