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USF’s Jordan McCloud making progress, could start at ECU

Nonetheless, offensive coordinator Kerwin Bell could is preparing backup quarterback Kirk Rygol just in case
Hampered by a separated right shoulder, USF quarterback Jordan McCloud managed only 50 passing yards in Saturday's 35-3 loss at Navy. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) [JULIO CORTEZ  |  AP]
Hampered by a separated right shoulder, USF quarterback Jordan McCloud managed only 50 passing yards in Saturday's 35-3 loss at Navy. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) [JULIO CORTEZ | AP]
Published Oct. 23, 2019

TAMPA ― Barely more than 72 hours before his team’s kickoff against East Carolina, USF offensive coordinator Kerwin Bell said he’s optimistic banged-up Bulls quarterback Jordan McCloud will be healthy enough to start against the Pirates.

But backup Kirk Rygol is getting plenty of reps just in case.

“I feel so much better this week (about McCloud),” Bell said.

“But we’ve got to make sure that he’s healthy. We don’t want to put him out there if he can’t go out and operate this offense, because that’s hurting everybody.”

MORE BULLS: USF’s Charlie Strong set to make $5 million this season

Though McCloud’s injury to his throwing shoulder initially was disclosed as a stinger, Bell said the redshirt freshman actually is nursing a first-degree shoulder separation that greatly hindered his ability to make downfield throws in Saturday’s 35-3 loss at Navy.

He finished 11-for-23 for 50 yards and an interception before being replaced by Rygol ― a 6-foot walk-on ― for the final two possessions.

“Last week I told him it was just like he was trying to survive,” Bell said. “We probably should’ve went ahead and made the move. You can tell he just probably didn’t feel comfortable.”

But Bell said McCloud informed him Sunday that he felt “better than he’s felt in the last two or three weeks.” Additionally, McCloud no longer is wearing a glove on his right hand, a sign that his wrist contusion no longer is an issue.

“We’ve got to be aggressive, we’ve got to get somebody out there who can go make the throws,” Bell said.

“I told (McCloud) that and he’s working hard. He knows he’s got to get better, he knows he’s got to get healthy, and I really like where he’s at right now this week. He’s not 100 percent by no means, but he’s a lot farther along than he was the last two weeks.”

Meantime, Bell and his staff continue grooming Rygol, who emerged as the emergency QB during preseason camp despite precious few significant reps.

“We really repped him more these last two or three weeks, so it’s just him knowing the system a little bit better,” Bell said. “But man, when he sees it and it’s open, he can make all the throws.”

Contact Joey Knight at Follow @TBTimes_Bulls.


  1. USF tight end Mitch Wilcox took a hard spiral to the face during the "gauntlet drill" at the NFL scouting combine Thursday in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall) [CHARLIE NEIBERGALL  |  AP]
  2. Former USF coach Charlie Strong (left), greeting Alabama coach Nick Saban at a 2017 summer football camp on the Bulls campus, reportedly has joined Saban's staff in an analyst role. [Joey Knight]
  3. USF junior David Collins (0) drives past East Carolina's Tristen Newton during the Bulls' 73-68 overtime victory Wednesday at the Yuengling Center. [Photo provided by USF Athletics] [USF Athletics]
  4. Tampa Bay Vipers QB/RB Quinton Flowers (9) loads up a pass play during the second quarter of the XFL home opener between the Tampa Bay Vipers and the Houston Roughnecks on Feb. 22. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times]
  5. USF coach Brian Gregory reacts to a call during the first half against Connecticut on Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020, in Storrs, Conn. [STEPHEN DUNN  |  AP]
  6. USF's David Collins (0) now has 1,220 career points, good for 10th place on the school's career scoring list. [STEPHEN DUNN  |  AP]
  7. Former USF tight end Mitch Wilcox speaks after the 2019 USF spring game. [ALLIE GOULDING  |  Tampa Bay Times]
  8. Connecticut's Jalen Gaffney (0) and South Florida's David Collins (0) battle for a loose ball during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020, in Storrs, Conn. (AP Photo/Stephen Dunn) [STEPHEN DUNN  |  AP]
  9. USF guard Laquincy Rideau drives to the basket between Houston's Nate Hinton, left, and Fabian White during a game on Jan. 26, 2020, in Houston. [MICHAEL WYKE  |  AP]
  10. USF athletic director Michael Kelly (left) and first-year football coach Jeff Scott have confirmed the Bulls' spring football game will remain on campus. [JOEY KNIGHT | TAMPA BAY TIMES] [Joey Knight]
  11. USF coach Brian Gregory's club dropped its third consecutive game Thursday, falling 65-55 at Wichita State. [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
  12. Florida Gators running back Lamical Perine (22) smashes into LSU Tigers safety John Battle (26) in the second quarter. (Bronte Wittpenn, Times) [Times]