USF BULLS FOOTBALL
5 FLORIDA A&M
4-8, 3-5 AAC
WESTERN CAROLINA W 36-31
MARYLAND L 24-17
N.C. STATE L49-17
CONNECTICUT W 17-14
at Wisconsin L 27-10
EAST CAROLINA L 28-17
at Tulsa W 38-30
at Cincinnati L 34-17
HOUSTON L 27-3
at SMU W 14-13
at Memphis L 31-20
at UCF L 16-0
Willie Taggart (3d year, 6-18); career 22-38
GAME TO WATCH: Nov 26 at UCF
Game moved to Thanksgiving Day night; Could
decide Taggart's future at USF.
HERALD'S FORECAST 6-6
Entering his third season Taggart is on the hot seat and needs a 6 win season to keep his job the voices surrounding the program say. USF has only 11 returning starters, but it's his most talented group and if he can finally get some consistent quality play out of his quarterback all things are possible. The Bulls offense is switching to a spread and will play a fast uptempo game with either Quinton Flowers or Steven Bench at quarterback. The schedule is not friendly and the offensive line is suspect so Taggart must find some magic.
A.J. Legree, jr., Wide Receiver
Legree sat out last year because of NCAA transfer rules. He played two years at Kentucky where he appeared in all 12 games catching 12 passes for 113 yards as a freshman and 7 for 97 yards as a junior. At 6-1, 195 pounds he brings size and as a former state high jump champ at Fort White HS can leap. In his senior year of high school caught 47 passes for 698 yards and 10 touchdowns and intercepted 6 passes returning two for touchdowns. Bulls hope he can be a big play guy for them.
THIN AT OFFENSIVE LINE & QUARTERBACK.
The offensive line loses a center, guard and tackle who combined for 111 career starts. Brynjar Gudmundsson with 24 starts the last two years is the most experienced and will start at center replacing Austin Reiter. Senior guard Thor Jozwiak has 13 starts. Quarterbacks Bench and Flowers have yet to show they can be successful as a starter.
DEEP AT LINEBACKER & RUNNING BACK
Defensive line is talented unit that should increase production with a new 4-2-5 scheme. Boasts stinger Nigel Harris, who led nation with 6 forced fumbles last season. Marlon Mack leads a trio of running backs that run hard and can be productive.
BY THE NUMBERS
When USF and Syracuse face each other Bulls will be trying to end 4 game losing streak by home team in this series.
USF is one of 9 FBS teams that have never had a 1,000 yard receiver.
Highest ranking Bulls ever received was number 2 in 2007; Unfortunately they've never finished in the top 25 since joining I-A in 2001.
NEED A BIG SEASON FROM:
Less than two weeks before the opener, Quinton Flowers was named the starter. The coaches feel they have two guys who are capable of running the offense so don't be surprised if Steven Bench takes over the reigns at anytime during the season.
Both of them need to improve their throwing accuracy, but Flowers has the edge because of his legs. He is a dynamic runner and therefore more dangerous, but has virtually no game experience. The big thing with Flowers is that he can turn a negative into a positive very quickly.
A fifth year senior, Bench is more experienced and as the son of a long time high school coach very knowledgeable. He is decent a runner who understands the Bulls new offense and its concepts.
Taggart and his coaches say they can win with either, but prefer to have one person as the starter.
Flowers is more athletic, but due to his lack of experience more prone to make mistakes. Taggart said not turning the ball over is the number one priority for his quarterback, but he can't overlook the special talent Flowers brings.
Flowers has one start under his belt and has played in five games as a freshman running for 73 yards and passing for 111. During his career at Miami Jackson he threw for 6.042 yards and rushed for 2,002 with 32 touchdowns.
"We made sure our guys know that if you turn it over you are not going to play and to help we've got to coach them up," Taggart said.
-- Alan Dell, Herald sports writer