With spring practices and the big spring game behind them, the excitement surrounding the Bulls may have subsided a bit, but with anticipation of the regular season that is right around the corner, it certainly hasn’t faded.
“We started off slow, but when we got around practice nine and 10, we started to come together,” Taggart said.
Between developing a new roster that will add more freshman to it upon high school graduation and entering a totally new conference, Taggart, who has repeated the words “not where it needs to be” for multiple positions, while at the same time bringing his “do something” pumped up attitude, seems to have mixed feelings.
Summer is typically a time to wind down for students, but Taggart should have his
“During spring ball, what I was looking for with the team being divided was them being able to execute, and they did which was impressive,” Taggart said. “At the end of the day, I think I got a really good idea of what we’re looking for.”
After a low scoring spring game, it was evident that defense will be the focal point of the team, namely the defensive line and linebackers.
Taggart said the defense outplaying the offense was to be expected, and with players who have been described by the coaches as leaders, such as defensive tackle Luke Sager and linebacker Devekeyan “DeDe” Lattimore, that makes sense.
“Pretty much from the start of spring, the defense had the upper hand on the offense,” Taggart said. “That’s just how it happens.”
Though the depth chart for the defense may be a bit more set in the mind of Taggart, uncertainty still remains behind the offensive line.
The fullback position is a position that is “not where it needs to be,” Taggart said. The same was said about the physicality of the tight ends.
As of now, both positions can “get things done,” but are still works in progress in Taggart’s eyes.
At halfback, a two-back system seems to be in the making with senior Marcus Shaw, whose work ethic has been praised by coaches, and junior Michael Pierre, whose size at 5-foot-10 and 202 pounds, can add a different dynamic to the ground attack for the Bulls.
Though uncertainty appears throughout the offense’s depth chart, no position embodies that more than the quarterbacks.
Senior Bobby Eveld is said to have the upper hand when it comes to arm strength according to Taggart, but junior Matt Floyd’s athletic ability over Eveld is what seems to be making the decision harder. The coach said the starting job is still up in the air.
“I think Bobby has been a tremendous leader and for him it’s just getting comfortable with what we’re doing and why we’re doing things,” Taggart said. “And it’s the same thing with Matt, but both of them are different.”
As Taggart bounces from position to position in his mind, come fall, the Bulls will have to be ready to play in the American Athletic Conference, he said.
This is what pumps him up.
“I want to be the first team to win it (the conference),” Taggart said.
When asked about the possibility of Raymond James Stadium hosting the conference’s championship game, his response was just as blunt as the other.
“If we’re in it, I don’t care where it is,” he said.
The support from fans and family add to the fire, he said.
Fan support has come in the form of handshakes upon handshakes, and it’s something that despite his confident demeanor, Taggart doesn’t take lightly.
“We know we have to earn that support as a team,” Taggart said. “We know what our fans can do for us too, they can take us to a level of
performance that we can’t do by ourselves.”
The Taggart era of football will begin August 31 against McNeese State at Raymond James Stadium, and while USF has experienced its fair share of change with Taggart, a lot of time still has to pass before the home opener.