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Bulls prepare for No. 15 Miami after bye week

The Bulls (0-3) haven’t had a win over the No. 15 Hurricanes (3-0) since the 2010-11 season, when they defeated Miami in overtime.

Now, two seasons and two losses to Miami later, USF coach Willie Taggart has had the bye week to prepare for a team that he calls “great.”

“They have a lot of talent,” he said. “They create turnovers and they’re not turning over the ball as much. You put that on top of having great athletes, and you have yourself a great football team.”

The Miami Hurricanes were once a powerhouse in college football, yet over the past three seasons they barely floated above a record of .500.

This season, Miami blew by two in-state opponents with a 34-6 win over Florida Atlantic and a 21-16 win over Florida. The Gators were ranked No. 12 at the time.

“I think Miami is on its way back to what they used to be,” Taggart said. “But we have to work on us. It’s not about who we’re going to be playing against. It’s about us going out; seeing how good we can be.”

The Hurricanes will come to Raymond James Stadium this Saturday at noon, boasting the No. 14 defense in the nation, tied at No. 9 in sacks against a USF offense that has been struggling to make time for its quarterback.

The USF offensive line has given up seven sacks this season, where the Miami defensive line has put up just over three per game with 11 on the season.

Looking back at past seasons during which former coach Skip Holtz led the Bulls against Miami, Taggart said he has been taking notes on the matchup.

“You can look at the film and see our guys are competing in those one-on-one battles and get a feel for how we hold up against them,” Taggart said.

As far as how the Bulls stack up against the Hurricanes, Taggart explained it in his weekly teleconference pretty simply:

“We turn the ball over quite a bit and they force turnovers,” he said. “We know that’s a weakness of ours and a strength of theirs. We know we are better than what we’ve shown and what a great opportunity to show it this week against Miami here at home on national TV.”

With USF as 18.5-point underdogs heading into Saturday’s matchup, according to, Taggart said that he doesn’t have to worry about firing his team up to play its in-state opponent.

With players on USF’s roster from the Miami area, Taggart said there’s enough fuel to their fire. He also said some young athletes could be seeing more playing time, including freshmen linebacker Nigel Harris, defensive tackle Derrick Calloway, defensive back Johnny Ward and Miami-native Lamar Robbins.

“I think a lot of guys want to come and put on a show,” Taggart said. “They want to come out and play their best ballgame against their home school.”