PLANT CITY ― The inaugural onfield workout for the XFL’s Tampa Bay Vipers seemed rudimentary right ’til the end Thursday. After the walk-throughs, stretches and sprints, one of the quarterbacks unleashed some wild misdirection.
Once again, Quinton Flowers left observers stunned. Only this time, the most prolific offensive weapon in USF history did it behind a bank of microphones, not behind center.
When asked if he’d like to see his former coach, Willie Taggart, get a chance to return to USF, Flowers responded, “No comment on that.”
Now, the Bulls nation is left to decipher what Flowers means by staying mum.
Did Flowers have a falling-out with his former coach? Does he wish to respect the search process by not commenting on any candidates? Does he simply like to leave everyone guessing?
The likely answers: No, yes and probably.
Former staffers and players contacted late Thursday concur Flowers and Taggart remain extremely close. Flowers, who received precious few college offers as a quarterback out of Miami’s Jackson High, remains grateful to Taggart for believing in him as a quarterback.
And Taggart, of course, has Flowers mostly to thank for perpetuating his coaching career. Taggart’s well-documented decision to unshackle Flowers in 2015 and allow him to be an improvisational dual threat transformed USF’s fortunes overnight and saved Taggart’s job.
The probable reason for Flowers’ silence Thursday in Plant City: He just doesn’t want to put himself in the middle of the search by commenting on candidates. In the wake of the Bulls’ season-ending 34-7 loss Friday at UCF, he vented some frustration via social media and has since decided to tone it down.
But as he has indicated recently on Twitter, he does want to speak with athletic director Michael Kelly before a decision is made.
“Me and some of the alumni football players, we all communicate with each other,” Flowers said.
“We’re hoping we can sit down as an alumni football team and have at least some input on who we want as our next head coach, or at least talk to (Kelly) and see how he feels about the new head coach he’s gonna pick. That’s the only thing we want.”