Time and time again, USF football coach Willie Taggart has said “winning isn’t complicated, people complicate.”
It’s been several days since the Bulls suffered a blowout from McNeese State on Saturday night’s first game of the season, and fans have more than complicated it by mocking some of Taggart’s themes this season.
Hashtags such as “#DoSomethingElse” or “#DoSomethingDifferent” have been spreading on social media, along with a parody of Taggart’s promotional video “Get On The Bus With @CoachTaggart,” in which the bus drives off of a cliff.
But Taggart said it is not the game plan they should stray away from but rather the mentality. At a press conference Tuesday, he said the biggest thing that needs to be changed this week is the attitude.
“We have to get our guys to believe in themselves,” Taggart said. “Not just myself and the coaches. We have to play with passion, and I’m not sure we’re doing that right now.”
Junior wide receiver Andre Davis, as one of the veterans on this young Bulls team, said he understands how to change that mentality.
“Vets on the team have to keep the young guys in positive spirits and keep their heads up,” he said.
Redshirt junior Reshard Cliett, a defensive veteran, said he is taking steps to becoming a leader on the team in his first year as a starter — he even took a leadership class over the summer.
Cliett seemed to be all over the field in the loss, leading the team with eight tackles. He said he’s well aware of the Bulls’ folding once adversity hit, and is even more aware of the opportunity that lies ahead.
“We had a bad game against McNeese,” Cliett said. “Now we have a Big Ten team, so it would be great to come away with a win.”
Saturday’s game against Michigan State won’t be easy in such a loud stadium, USF offensive coordinator Walt Wells said. In those kinds of situations, Wells said his team usually steps up to the plate.
As Taggart refocuses his “mentally fragile” Bulls, fans wait to see who will line up at center to lead that team. A win this Saturday would easily quiet the fans down, as well as boost the morale for the Bulls.
The summer may be over, but the quarterback battle between senior Bobby Eveld and redshirt sophomore Matt Floyd looks to be far from it.
No matter what changes in the mentality of the team, or even the lineup, Taggart has been stern in his philosophy with three simple words: “execute game plan.”