Joey Knight, Times Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 1, 2014 6:53pm
Apparently, not all of the college football stratosphere has grown enamored with East Carolina senior QB Shane "Cap'n" Carden, who brings the nation's seventh-ranked offense (581.5 ypg) to Raymond James Stadium on Oct. 11.
Count Bulls DL Eric Lee among those yet to be bowled over. When asked Wednesday about Carden, who has more career 400-yard passing games (five) than USF's entire program (one), Lee said: "Nothing special."
"He's like any other quarterback. He's short, that's...the only assessment. Of course you can't underestimate or overestimate though. You've just gotta go out and come out here and practice for whoever is in front of you."
Naturally, Coach Willie Taggart begged to differ. Incidentally, Carden, who already has thrown for 1,469 yards and 11 TDs in only four games for the 22nd-ranked Pirates, is listed at 6-foot-2.
"I don't think (Lee) was looking at the same East Carolina film," he said.
"Really talented football team. The quarterback's a stud. You watch the kids play and they play with a lot of confidence, they play fast. ... They've all been playing together for a while now, and you can see it in the way they react to negative things that happen in the game. They don't get flustered or anything, they respond, and they respond fast."
MACK RECOGNIZED: Bulls freshman TB Marlon Mack, still 15th nationally with 536 rushing yards, has been named to the College Football Performance Awards (CFPA) Freshman Performer of the Year Watch List.
Mack is one of only two players from the American Athletic Conference -- Tulane RB Sherman Badie is the other -- on the 30-player list. Though his performance has tailed off considerably since his surreal debut (school single-game record 275 rushing yards) against Western Carolina, he still ranks 26th nationally in rushing yards per game (107.2).
ODDS AND ENDS: With a bye this weekend and no major injuries reported following the Wisconsin game, the Bulls should be at or near full strength when they host East Carolina for homecoming. ... WR Andre Davis (sternum) wore a white full-contact jersey Wednesday and still appears on track to return for ECU. "Andre's got to continue to get in football condition," Taggart said.
AUDIBLE: "Who you talkin' about, the backup?" -- Taggart's initial reaction when told of Lee's comments about ECU's quarterback