Willie Taggart said he wanted a quarterback who inspired teammates.
What the USF head coach needs is a team that inspires fans to attend games.
Not many were there Saturday, and those who came couldn't find a reason to return.
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The best thing about USF is its recruiting class that was rated No. 1 in the AAC last winter, but those players are in the infancy of their careers.
There was a new quarterback for USF on Saturday, but the results were worse with a 27-3 loss to Houston.
Taggart said he saw some intangibles that made him go to Steven Bench and that inspiring teammates was more important than a quarterback's skill set.
"I felt our football team needed a spark, and I felt our offense needed a spark," Taggart said. "I love Steven's leadership and love his confidence, which I thought we needed, and guys were excited about him as well."
One group of guys who couldn't be excited about the quarterback change was the defense. It didn't get any help from the offense, was out on the field too long and withered in the second when Houston scored 20 points and was successful on 7 of 8 third-down conversion attempts after going 1-for-7 in the first half.
Maybe what Taggart forgot is that good play serves as inspiration more than talking or looking upbeat.
If anybody knows that, it should be Taggart, the former Manatee High standout and Western Kentucky All-American quarterback.
The loss to Houston was devastating because the Bulls blew a chance to move into contention for the AAC title and just about ruined any chance of them becoming bowl eligible.
USF has to win its remaining three games to go bowling.
Bench does not appear to be the answer. He put together only one decent drive Saturday, and it ended in a field goal. He threw passes that were short, and he doesn't seem to have the arm to go long, which White can do.
The Bulls are off next weekend, and Taggart would not say who his quarterback is going to be after that. He staunchly defends his action, even if it might create some lack of confidence in White or uncertainty throughout the offense.
"We are going to go to practice and compete, and I will let you guys know the week of the game," Taggart said. "I don't think it's hard on the kids. But you want it to be hard on the kids. We want guys who compete to earn their job and keep their job and do their job to the best of their ability."
We all thought Mike White was the guy, but he fell out of Taggart's favor after the Cincinnati loss for reasons that are still unclear.
Taggart said he didn't like the way the sophomore looked depressed and moped.
Unfortunately, that's what most fans who come to Raymond James Stadium feel, whether they're watching USF or the Tampa Bay Bucs.
One thing about White: he recognizes Andre Davis and knows he is the best receiver on the USF roster.
Bench seemed to forget that or couldn't figure out a way to get him the ball, though Davis only played in the second half because of a suspension.
A great comeback win over Tulsa a few weeks ago was being talked about as a defining game to get the Bulls going in the Taggart era, but it never happened. They are now 3-6.
"The last two games we haven't performed like we are capable of performing," Taggart said. "We just don't do enough winning things to win a game. Our guys are trying. They are working hard, but we are just not making the plays it takes to win the games."
You inspire by winning. You inspire by showing a skill set that gets your teammates excited and puts fear into your opponent.
Maybe Taggart doesn't have a quarterback with all those ingredients.
Alan Dell, Herald sports writer, can be reached at 941-745-7056. Follow him on Twitter @ADellSports.