TAMPA — USF coach Willie Taggart hears fans clamoring to see Penn State transfer Steven Bench get a look a quarterback, and he's committed to giving the sophomore regular appearances in each game while sticking with senior Bobby Eveld as his starter.
"We see that happening as we continue to move forward and he continues to progress in learning our offense," Taggart said Tuesday of Bench's new role. "Everybody wants Steven to just get in there — (fan voice) 'Put Steven in' — but it doesn't work that way. We're not just going to do that to the kid or our football program. We're going to make the best decision for our football program and our kids."
Eveld's numbers in Saturday's loss at Michigan State weren't pretty — 6-for-25 for 66 yards, with two turnovers returned for touchdowns — but they came amid constant pressure that the offensive line struggled to contain. Bench debuted with a single series, missing on his only pass and running 4 yards on his only carry. As Bench gets more comfortable running the offense, his appearances could be more significant.
"When Steven gets to that point where he's showing us he's the man, we'll put him in there and let him do it," Taggart said. "At the end of the day, we need some production from that position. We need production, we need leadership … that's consistent."
Taggart reiterated that improved quarterback play will come with improved play elsewhere on offense. He echoed his frustration Saturday about missed assignments on the line, drops among receivers and pre-snap penalties.
"That comes with everybody else playing good, too," Taggart said. "If everybody else (doesn't play) well and you put Steven in, the same thing's going to happen. Everybody on the offensive side of the ball has to be responsible for doing their jobs to the best of their ability. If we see that from everybody else, we're going to see our quarterback position play better."
With Eveld starting and Bench assured of regular cameos, the question is where sophomore Matt Floyd fits in — he earned the opening start against McNeese State and was voted a team captain, but his contributions could be limited to the opening coin toss if the other two QBs can improve.
This and that: One more USF-FAU tie — Bulls associate athletic director Craig Angelos hired FAU coach Carl Pelini when he was the Owls' AD, but he was let go in spring 2012 before Pelini's first game. Angelos was their AD for eight years and joined Doug Woolard's staff at USF last year. … Men's soccer coach George Kiefer has been pleased with how junior Wes Charpie (Tarpon Springs) has transitioned from midfield to being the starting right back on defense for the Bulls (1-0-2). … The women's soccer team (4-0-2) has three straight shutouts, getting strong play in net from sophomore Christiane Endler. FSU transfer Tori Abnathy has jumped in with two goals, one off Olivia Chance's team lead.
Greg Auman can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3346.