TAMPA — With starting LB Reshard Cliett doubtful for Saturday's home game against Florida Atlantic, USF coach Willie Taggart said he's confident in Nigel Harris if the true freshman's pressed into a major role.
"When the guy has consistently shown he can take what you teach him in the meeting room and take it on the football field and help you execute, then the kid has a chance to play," Taggart said. "Nigel has shown us he can do the things we ask him to do. He's played in some ball games now, so he sees what it's like to play at this level. He's not the biggest, as of yet, but he's a tough kid."
Harris, 6 feet and 190 pounds, shined at Hillsborough High, and showed enough in August that coaches made him the No. 2 weakside linebacker, ahead of many more experienced players.
THIS AND THAT: Taggart said he'll stick with Kenneth Durden as his punt returner, despite the redshirt sophomore fielding two punts inside USF's 10-yard line already this season. "We worked really, really hard on making great decisions back there, and I think Kenneth will do a great job for us," Taggart said. … The team added eight walk-ons, including former Tarpon Springs K Michael Hill. He sat out last season after transferring from Oklahoma, where he spent 2011 as a walk-on.
FSU: No-huddle awaits
TALLAHASSEE — FSU is preparing for the offensive challenges presented by Nevada.
Coach Jimbo Fisher focused on Nevada's no-huddle offense, emphasizing the importance of forcing third down, then getting a stop.
"Against a no-huddle team, that's the down,'' Fisher said. "You get a third down and you get off the field, you can win some battles because it's hard for those no-huddle teams to get into a rhythm. Third down is critical in any ball game, especially against a team like this."
At Thursday's practice the Seminoles stayed out in the heat to get used to the intensity needed against the no-huddle. Fisher said it will be important to keep fresh defenders in the game.
UCF: Getting physical
Penn State players expect a physical game against UCF.
"UCF is going to be a tough matchup for us," RB Bill Belton said. "They look like they have a tough defense, they're big. It's going to be a physical matchup, so we're preparing for that."
Added OL Miles Dieffenbach: "They have some really big defensive tackles, quick ends and they're strong at linebacker with a good secondary. It's going to be a physical game … something we're really looking forward to."