1. USF Bulls

Taggart keen on his backup QB

Late in the third quarter of Saturday's season opener against Towson, Bulls coach Willie Taggart had a question for backup QB Brett Kean, practically joined at the hip with Taggart most of the game.

"I asked him did he want to throw a touchdown?" Taggart said Tuesday. "He was like, 'Yeah coach.'"

Moments later, the redshirt freshman found TB D'Ernest Johnson for a 23-yard TD on his first collegiate throw. Taggart dialed it up.

Kean? He was just dialed in -- all 60 minutes.

"I tell you what, the one thing I liked about Brett, throughout the game he was just so in tune into the game." Taggart said.

"A lot of times, you've got guys on the sideline, they're just watching the game and not really into it. But Brett was really into it. He was like, 'Hey Coach, the next time we go out we can try this...' It was good because some of the things he was suggesting I was thinking myself. It's like, 'Brett, stay in my ear, stay in my ear. C'mon, keep walking with me.'"

Kean finished 5-for-7 for 52 yards with two TDs. In the fourth quarter, he found redshirt freshman TE Mitchell Wilcox isolated in the left flat for a 21-yard TD.

"Happy for ol' Brett," Taggart said. "Brett's a good quarterback and good person and his teammates love him."

MACK UPDATE: Taggart said TB Marlon Mack, undergoing a concussion protocol, remains questionable for Saturday's home game against Northern Illinois. Mack didn't return after taking a hard upper-body shot from Towson 250-pound LB Diondre Wallace -- and fumbling -- in the second quarter against Towson.

"I talked to Marlon today and he said he feels good," Taggart said Tuesday. "Just a little sore but other than that, he said he was feeling good."

Senior Darius Tice (six carries, 32 yards vs. Towson) and junior D'Ernest Johnson (six carries, 33 yards) will step in if Mack can't go. On Tuesday, Taggart seemed to suggest he'd go to freshman TB Trevon Sands only in an emergency.

"Hopefully it don't come to that," he said. "Possible though."

ODDS AND ENDS: Don't be stunned if the Bulls shake up their kick-coverage personnel. Towson averaged 26.7 yards on nine returns, including a 61-yarder that led to the Tigers' second TD. ... USF now has run for at least 200 yards in six consecutive games and nine of its last 10. ... LT Kofi Amichia agreed Tice and Johnson likely could start for many other teams in the American Athletic Conference. "Probably any other team in the nation, really," he said. ... At this moment, USF is tied with seven other teams for the national lead in turnovers gained (four).

AUDIBLE: "I wouldn't say I was surprised by it. Mike's a good quarterback and he can throw the ball around, and he showed that this past weekend." -- Taggart on former Bulls QB Mike White, who threw for 517 yards and three TDs in his Western Kentucky debut Thursday in a 46-14 rout of Rice.