USF uses bye week for quarterback battle
Published: Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, November 7, 2012 04:11
The battle for backup quarterback of the USF football team is getting heated, after senior quarterback B.J. Daniels broke his left leg and sprained his right ankle against Connecticut on Saturday, ending his season and career at USF.
Redshirt freshman Matt Floyd, who filled in for Daniels on Saturday, and junior Bobby Eveld will compete for the starting role when the Bulls take on Miami in two weeks. Before the season started, offensive coordinator Todd Fitch said it was important to ready both backups.
“I think both of them need to be ready to play, in case there’s an injury or something,” Fitch said before the season. “I’m just trying to get them both ready to play and see how it goes from there.”
Little did Fitch know how true it would ring as the Bulls head into their second bye week of the season.
In one play, the USF football team was forced to go from focusing on the present to looking toward the future. In one play, the second bye week of the season became infinitely more valuable, as the team looks to prepare a backup quarterback to take the role of starter.
“We’ve got two quarterbacks that are competing,” coach Skip Holtz said. “They’re rolling in every four plays, and we’re going to let them work it out this week and let the best quarterback win. We want to get someone who gives us the best opportunity to win down the stretch.”
Both Eveld and Floyd hold their own advantages in the battle. Eveld has previous experience in his favor, while Floyd has recent playing time on his side.
Eveld played against Miami in the last two match ups, and led the Bulls to a 23-20 overtime win in 2010 — coming in after the half and going eight-for-20 for 120 yards and leading the offense on a game-winning touchdown drive in overtime.
Holtz said Eveld’s previous appearances against Miami will not factor into the decision for who will start Nov. 17 against the Hurricanes.
“It’s going to be whoever plays the best this week,” Holtz said. “I don’t think you can say, ‘Well Bobby played down there’ and go ahead and play him. I think it will be predicated over the next three days.”
Floyd, who redshirted a season ago when Eveld stepped in for Daniels for the second time against Miami, came into the game against Connecticut when Daniels was injured on Saturday and has been listed as the backup quarterback. Eveld, meanwhile, has not played and was expected to redshirt this season.
“I told Bobby I would give him a redshirt if I could because I thought he could benefit from a redshirt year,” Holtz said. “I said the same thing with (senior running back) Lindsey Lamar, and the next week (Marcus) Shaw was out 4 to 6 weeks and he had to step in. We have the obligation to the team to get the player who gives us the best chance to win.”
In the past two weeks, the Bulls have lost their top two rushers for the season, seniors Daniels and Lamar.
Junior receiver Terrence Mitchell said the results of the injuries are both positive and negative.
“It won’t do anything but help Matt or Bobby, because they will get some more experience before next
season,” he said. “I can’t really tell you how our offense will unravel now, because B.J. was the key and leader, so we need to try and find our identity now.”
With the quarterback battle from the preseason renewed, this time with a greater importance, the second bye week of the season looks to be right on time for the Bulls, as Eveld and Floyd will use the time to battle for the starting quarterback role.
“If there’s a clear winner after three days, then we’ll say, ‘He’s our guy’ and give him all the reps,” Holtz said. “But if it’s still balanced after three days we might let them continue to compete for a couple more days. I don’t know yet. I’m trying to bite into these three days and then go from there.”