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Willie Taggart on Big 12 news: We're focused on Temple

USF coach Willie Taggart celebrates after his team defeated Connecticut Huskies at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida on Saturday, October 15, 2016. South Florida Bulls defeated the Connecticut Huskies 42 to 27. (Octavio Jones, Times)
USF coach Willie Taggart celebrates after his team defeated Connecticut Huskies at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida on Saturday, October 15, 2016. South Florida Bulls defeated the Connecticut Huskies 42 to 27. (Octavio Jones, Times)
Published Oct. 18, 2016

As expected, Willie Taggart dusted off his standard response Tuesday when asked if he had any reaction to the Big 12's decision not to expand.

"Same way it was at the beginning of the year when you guys asked me: We support no cause foreign or domestic other than winning the American (Athletic) Conference championship," Taggart said during his weekly news conference.

"That's all we've been focused on, that's all we've talked about. I heard there was some news about the Big 12 (Monday), and we're locked in to Temple."

Athletic director Mark Harlan also has remained mum, other than releasing a three-sentence statement following the Big 12's announcement Monday evening. USF was among 11 expansion finalists that made formal, in-person presentations to Big 12 officials in Texas in early September.

"It would be so disrespectful for Temple or any of our other American brethren to worry about any other conference," Taggart said. "So we're making sure we're respecting all of our opponents ahead of us, especially our American brethren."

MILESTONES APLENTY: The Bulls, who seem to set a new program standard with each triumph, can set a few more Friday night against Temple.

USF will be seeking the program's first 7-1 start and its fifth consecutive road triumph, which would match the school record. An impressive win against the Owls might — might — earn the Bulls their first national ranking in five years. They received 31 points in last week's Associated Press poll.

INJURY UPDATE: WR Ryeshene Bronson, who has one reception in his last two contests, fell on his shoulder Saturday against Connecticut and didn't appear to suit up for Tuesday's workout in shells. Taggart said there's a chance he can play Friday.

Elsewhere, CB Ronnie Hoggins (calf) and TE Kano Dillon (ankle), both of whom missed the UConn game, practiced Tuesday and are expected to play Friday.

ODDS AND ENDS: For the next two games, including a Friday night home contest against Navy on Oct. 28, USF's game will be called by Adam Amin (play-by-play), former Texas coach Mack Brown (analyst) and Molly McGrath (sidelines). Friday's game is on ESPN; the Navy game is on ESPN2. … USF is one of only seven programs nationally with two 500-yard rushers. QB Quinton Flowers has 655, TB Marlon Mack has 592. … With 66 rushing yards Friday, Flowers (1,722) moves from eighth to sixth place on the Bulls' career rushing yardage list. With 202 passing yards, he passes Chad Barnhardt (4,138) for fourth place on USF's all-time passing yardage chart.

AUDIBLE: "For us, we always call ourselves 'The Hogs.' We're the big boys on the line, there ain't nothing pretty about us, ain't nothing pretty that we're doing. We're just out there in the mud, in the grind, pushing everybody and just making sure everybody else stays nice and pretty." — C Cameron Ruff, when asked if the Bulls offensive line has a nickname.

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