1. USF Bulls

'Trap game' not part of Bulls' terminology

Published Sep. 13, 2016

Surprisingly, more than eight minutes elapsed at Willie Taggart's weekly press conference Tuesday before a trap-game question arrived.

The fourth-year Bulls coach needed far less time to dispel the phrase's mythology.

Taggart, whose team travels to Syracuse this weekend before hosting No. 2 FSU on Sept. 24, said trap games no longer exist. Or looking at it another way, they exist every week.

At any rate, the sport's surging parity, created by the 85-scholarship limit, has rendered the term obsolete.

"The only way it can become a trap game is if you lose it," Taggart said. "Basically they're saying that if you lose, we're going to call it a trap game. If you win, then what is it? We don't look at it like that. We're locked in to going up there and playing our best football game at Syracuse."

The Bulls currently are favored by 15. A victory in the Carrier Dome, coupled with an FSU win at Louisville, makes the 'Noles-Bulls showdown arguably the biggest game in USF history. A loss at Syracuse, however, takes considerable luster from the following week's matchup.

"It's hard to get a win. It's hard to win ball games," Taggart said. "You've got to be at your best every game. We could have lost last week (against Northern Illinois) and that could have been a trap game. So I guess a trap game is a game you lose.

"You ever see a trap game when you win? Nope."

INJURY UPDATE: TB Marlon Mack, who went through the concussion protocol early last week and missed the NIU game, practiced in a contact jersey Tuesday. S Khalid McGee and DT Bruce Hector, both of whom are nursing ankle injuries sustained against NIU, suited up but didn't practice, Taggart said.

DE Mike Love, meantime, is going through the concussion protocol.

MORE SALOMON SIGHTINGS? Taggart acknowledged four-star freshman WR Darnell Salomon, reduced to a cameo in each of the Bulls' first two games, was slowed by a hamstring injury in preseason camp. For now, he's not being considered for a redshirt; quite the opposite.

"He's going to continue to get better and continue to be part of the offense," Taggart said.

"Darnell missed a big part of our training he's from a development (standpoint), hadn't had a lot of reps out there and each week, each practice he's getting better, he's learning. But he's a smart kid, he's picking it up pretty quick."

ODDS AND ENDS: A win against the Orange gives USF its first 3-0 start in five years. ... Saturday's game is Syracuse's homecoming. ... To simulate the Carrier Dome decibel level, Taggart had crowd noise blaring from the Bulls' mobile sound system during Tuesday's practice. ... The status of OL Glen Bethel -- dealing with an eligibility issue -- remains unchanged, Taggart said. Bethel continues practicing with the team.

AUDIBLE: "I know we can do it against them. That's what we preach in practice. We're that offense, too. ... With Lamar Jackson at quarterback, we have Quinton Flowers at quarterback. With the receivers they have, we have the same receivers. We're going to do the exact same thing that Louisville did." -- Bulls WR Rodney Adams, suggesting the Bulls can replicate Louisville's offensive performance (845 total yards) against Syracuse this weekend.