Friday, February 23, 2018
Colleges

Key USF players remain questionable

TAMPA — USF sophomore QB Steven Bench (knee) and senior RB Marcus Shaw (leg) are improving, but both remain uncertain for Saturday's game at UConn, coach Willie Taggart said Thursday.

"They're better than they were (Wednesday), I will say that," Taggart said.

Bench and Shaw were both injured during the win over Cincinnati and have been limited in practice this week. If they can't play, senior QB Bobby Eveld and junior RB Michael Pierre will likely start.

Seeking BOOST: Taggart said a road win would give his team momentum going into the bye week. USF has lost six consecutive road games and is looking to reach 2-0 in conference play for the first time since 2003.

"We're selling the same message," Taggart said. "Let's improve and be better than we were last week."

UF: No looking back

GAINESVILLE — It's not that Florida defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin isn't proud of the success his unit is having right now.

The Gators lead the SEC in rushing, scoring and pass defense, among other categories, and Florida is No. 2 in Division I-A in total defense behind Michigan State.

But as the Gators prepare to face No. 10 LSU, Durkin said the focus is on continued improvement, not the numbers they have already put up.

"We don't really talk about any of the rankings," Durkin said. "To us, it's about measuring us to our own standard and watching the tape real closely and being good self-evaluators. … We stay on our guys, but they're hungry themselves and they understand that, and they want to be great at everything we do."

Antonya English, Times staff writer

FSU: No fear of spread

TALLAHASSEE — It took nearly a month for FSU to face its first test against a potent spread offense, then the Seminoles stifled then-No. 25 Maryland 63-0.

The Seminoles surrendered just 234 yards of total offense, highlighting what new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt's scheme is built for: speed.

"Maryland wanted to get the ball to the edges," LB Terrance Smith said. "Based off the speed we have on our defense, we like to run around and make plays out in the open field."

Now FSU is looking to Oct. 19 and No. 3 Clemson, which is led by dual-threat QB Tajh Boyd. Like Maryland, Clemson spreads its receivers and allows its athletic QB to run.

"It may be the same game (as Maryland) but you never know," FSU LB Telvin Smith said.

Orlando Sentinel

UM: Building depth

CORAL GABLES — Miami may have a few extra days to prepare for North Carolina, but Hurricanes coach Al Golden said he and his staff have been pushing reserve players to challenge for playing time.

"We're just focused on individual improvement and really trying to develop a couple different things in each of the units," he said.

South Florida Sun Sentinel

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