TAMPA — In an otherwise innocent effort to create team unity, coach Willie Taggart might have created a firestorm among the USF fan base with his confirmation Monday the Bulls will not have names on the back of their jerseys this season.
Instead, THE TEAM will be listed above the numbers.
"We're going to represent the Bulls," Taggart said before Monday evening's workout. "That's not to say that (the names) won't come back some time, but our football team is focusing on the team. That's where it needs to be."
The announcement triggered social media hubbub, with Twitter reaction ranging from hearty approval to astonishment to embarrassment. Taggart said the move was necessitated by last year's 2-10 effort.
"That was one of the things we thought as a coaching staff that we could do better, is becoming a team," Taggart said. "If we became a football team that was all about USF and not individuals, good things can happen for us. And we've seen that throughout the offseason and I feel like it'll translate into the season as we get going."
White no longer green: A day after being named starter for the Aug. 30 opener, sophomore QB Mike White said he matured greatly in his competition with junior Steven Bench, walk-on Evan Wilson and freshman Quinton Flowers.
White was told during a position meeting Sunday night, and was immediately congratulated by Bench, whom he called "a class act."
"I feel really confident, I feel like I'm seeing the field well," said White, an 18-year-old with no college spring practices when he became the starter for the last five games of 2013. "I feel like I have the offense down pat. I've gotten to the point where I can start teaching it to the younger dudes. … And I feel like once you can teach an offense, that's when you're at the peak of your knowledge."
UF: DL out for season
GAINESVILLE — Florida freshman DL Thomas Holley will miss the season with a hip injury that requires surgery.
Holley, from Brooklyn, N.Y., came to UF with a repaired hernia and when he began to have discomfort it was presumed to be associated with the previous injury. But Florida medical personnel eventually discovered another problem.
"On the initial physical, we found a labral tear in his hip, an impingement in his hip," Gators coach Will Muschamp said. "So they're going to repair the tear and shave the bone."
Holley's recovery is expected to take about four months and he will redshirt.
DB Marcus Maye (hamstring), and OL David Sharpe (sprained ankle) will most likely miss practice this week.
WHO'S NO. 2?: The Gators will end fall camp Wednesday, but are still in search of a quarterback to back up junior starter Jeff Driskel. Freshmen Treon Harris and Will Grier are in a battle for the No. 2 spot.
"Very close," Muschamp said. "I think that there's been a lot of positives, but I feel like sometimes we take two steps forward and one step back. As far as getting rid of the football, we've tried to narrow down the package with all of those guys, not do as much as we're doing with Jeff. But we also can't inhibit our offense to continue to move forward."
Antonya English, Times staff writer
FSU: DB drops hoops to focus on football
TALLAHASSEE — Florida State DB Marquez White has given up basketball so he can focus solely on football.
White (6 feet, 172 pounds), a sophomore, played both sports last year.
"It was something I really decided when I got to school," White said of basketball. "I felt like there were certain things I wanted to do, I wanted to say I did and say I could do and playing college basketball was one of them."
White played six games during last basketball season, averaging 1.7 minutes.
"I wasn't used to the level of competition," White said. "It was a lot higher than it was in high school (Northview High in Dothan, Ala.). The coaches expect more and they expect you to be able to do both at the same time with no dropoff. So I had to be mentally ready for that."
White could make more of a significant impact as a football player during his time at FSU.
"I'm going to tell you what now, Marquez is going to be a heck of a football player," coach Jimbo Fisher said. "I really like him. He can not only be a corner, but safety, too. He's got tremendous, tremendous ball skills and speed and athleticism over the top."