TAMPA — A conclusion to the highly contested USF quarterback competition between junior Steven Bench and sophomore Mike White appears to be forthcoming.
Coach Willie Taggart said final decisions on many positions, including starting QB, could be made today after he meets with assistants and reviews film from Saturday's second live scrimmage of the preseason.
"We want to go into (this) week being pretty sure on who we're going to work with and who we're going to continue to bring along with us," Taggart said.
From all indications, choosing between White and Bench will be an arduous task for the second-year coach.
Throughout the first two weeks of practice, the duo traded snaps with the first-team offense and Taggart continuously praised their competitiveness.
He reiterated that message after Saturday's session, which was closed to the public.
"I think all of our quarterbacks (played well)," Taggart said. "Mike looked good. Steven looked good throwing the ball."
FLOWERS BLOSSOMS: Freshman QB Quinton Flowers drew high praise from Taggart and teammates for his performance in the scrimmage.
The four-star recruit threw three touchdown passes playing with first, second and third stringers, Taggart said.
"Early on, there was a lot going in on him and he struggled a little bit, but he kept his poise," Taggart said. "He kept working, and he's starting to make some plays for us."
FSU: Receiver Jones declared ineligible
TALLAHASSEE — Florida State wide receiver Isaiah Jones has been declared academically ineligible. He will still attend school and practice, coach Jimbo Fisher said.
Jones, a sophomore, caught two passes for 31 yards in five games in 2013 for the national champions. He was part of a large group of receivers competing for starting jobs after FSU lost senior Kenny Shaw and Kelvin Benjamin entered the NFL draft early. At 6 feet 4, Jones is the tallest receiver on the roster, and he was expected to help cushion the loss of the 6-5 Benjamin.
FSU still has plenty of options, including seniors Jarred Haggins and Christian Green, and sophomores Jesus Wilson and Kermit Whitfield. FSU also signed a heralded trio of receivers in February: Travis Rudolph, Ermon Lane and Ja'Vonn Harrison.
O'Leary a key: With just one wide receiver with meaningful experience returning, FSU's offensive attack will likely be more reliant on Nick O'Leary and the rest of a deep tight end group.
O'Leary, FSU's career leader in receiving touchdowns (11) for a tight end, had 33 receptions for 557 yards and seven touchdowns last season. Nationally, he led all players at his position in yards per catch, averaging 16.9, and proved to be a reliable target for QB Jameis Winston.
"To me, Nick is the best tight end in college football," Winston said. "He led the team in touchdowns for the first three games of the season. Teams realized that and started guarding him. Nick is unstoppable. … He has so much heart."
Associated Press, Orlando Sentinel
UM: Reserves get chance to stand out
CORAL GABLES — When the Hurricanes took the field for their 13th practice of camp, several notable players wore caps, T-shirts and shorts instead of jerseys, pads and helmets.
LB Denzel Perryman, RB Duke Johnson, OLs Ereck Flowers and Shane McDermott, DE Anthony Chickillo and WRs Malcolm Lewis and Braxton Berrios worked with their respective position groups and got rest, but coach Al Golden said it was a tactical move, too.
He wanted to see how some of his reserves responded with starters not playing.
"If somebody goes down in the first quarter against Louisville (in the opener Sept. 1), I don't want to see that (leadership) look that night. I want to see that look this morning," Golden said.
"All the guys that got pressed into action this morning and saw that that guy was not going to be playing, that's the effect of it."
Freshman DE Chad Thomas, TE Clive Walford and S Dallas Crawford impressed Golden.
Receiver expected back: Receiver Rashawn Scott, who had been running with the first team before injuring his shoulder/clavicle in Wednesday's scrimmage, should be back at some point this season, Golden said. "It's not a season-ending deal," Golden said. "It's a little bit of an exotic injury, something that's not customary. But he's doing good. He'll keep his conditioning up so he can return to action quickly."
Miami Herald, South Florida Sun Sentinel
UCF: O'Leary wants more movement
ORLANDO — UCF grinded out 16 consecutive days of practices before scrimmaging Saturday morning.
The first half featured the first-team offense against the second-team defense and vice versa. The third teams faced off against each other, as did the fourth teams. In the second half, the first teams went head to head.
With quarterback Pete DiNovo leading the first team, the offense immediately marched down the field highlighted by a key Taylor Oldham reception and a Dontravious Wilson touchdown run.
On defense, Errol Clarke, D.J. Killings and Kyle Gibson had interceptions, and Shaquem Griffin forced a fumble.
"I would have liked to have seen more movement at the line of scrimmage for both sides, offense and defense," coach George O'Leary said.
"We will evaluate the tape, see where it's at. Overall, we got everybody a chance to be on film."
The Knights are off today.
FAMU: QB Fleming eases back to action
TALLAHASSEE — Senior quarterback Damien Fleming worked one series of Florida A&M's first scrimmage and watched the rest from the sideline as he recovers from the broken foot that required surgery.
"Damien is still not 100 percent physically," coach Earl Holmes said. "We are taking things slow with him, not wanting to risk any setbacks for him physically."
Sophomore Carson Royal and junior college transfer Shazzon Mumphrey got most of the work at quarterback, with Royal directing a number of scoring drives, scoring once on a bootleg.
"Carson did a good job," Holmes said. "He's shown growth and improvement, and made some good throws too."
Overall, Holmes said, "We still need improvement, we still have a number of things that need to be cleaned up, especially our efforts on third down," Holmes said.
"While we looked good in spots, we have to improve so that the offense helps out the defense by sustaining drives, and the defense has to perform better so they get off the field."
Versatile Vasty: Redshirt senior running back Vasty Paul, from Middleton High, had several good runs, Holmes said.
"Vasty has played on both sides of the ball, as a running back and defensive back mostly, but he looked good (Saturday), and seems like he didn't lose any of his offensive skills at all, so we will continue to work him at tailback," Holmes said.