Though his team was well on its way to a 45-20 victory over Cincinnati (3-2, 0-1) on Saturday night, USF coach Willie Taggart found himself with the opportunity for a valuable teaching moment.
Failing to convert on an open pass on third down late in the game, Taggart took starting quarterback Quinton Flowers over to the bench, where he appeared to have some passionate words for his young leader.
“I told him I love him,” Taggart said during Tuesday’s weekly press conference.
“There was a play where he lost a little focus, and he knew it. It’s just one of those plays where he lost focus, and just trying to keep him focused the entire game…Especially on third down, we want Quinton locked in…I just wanted to make sure he understood what he did wrong and how important it is for him to stay focused in those situations, and then, like I said, I told him I love him and I appreciate him.”
The Bulls (4-1, 1-0) come into Saturday’s homecoming matchup with East Carolina (2-3, 0-1) coming off their most impressive defensive outing under first year defensive coordinator Raymond Woodie.
After surrendering 20 points in the first half to the Bearcats on Saturday night, Woodie and his defense got in sync and adjusted at halftime to shut out Cincinnati in the second half.
“I think with Cincinnati, we just had to feel them out a bit,” senior defensive back Nate Godwin said.
“I feel like in the beginning, they hit us with some things we hadn’t seen on film…At halftime, coach Woodie came in and drew up some plays and some things on the board…He got loud, he was like, ‘Come on, we got ‘em. 20 points is too much’, and we came out and responded.”
Shaping up to resemble the unit that finished 2015 forcing 25 turnovers, the Bulls forced four turnovers Saturday including a second-half interception that was returned for a score by senior Johnny Ward, the first for USF since Nov. 23, 2013 against SMU.
C’mon Mr. President!
Although rescheduled due to the impending inclement weather of Hurricane Matthew, President Barack Obama’s scheduled Wednesday visit to campus garnered the attention of all Bulls, including Taggart.
While Taggart appeared delighted at the thought of bumping into the Commander-In-Chief, he joked not even a visit from the president trumps USF football.
“Our homecoming game is big time, it’s bigger,” Taggart said
“We support no cause foreign or domestic other than winning an American Conference championship. But, I hope he gives me a shout while he’s here. I hope he doesn’t come in town and not give me a call, c’mon man…I figure if he stops through, at least give me a shout or something.”