Taggart opens team-wide competition

After two consecutive losses, coach Willie Taggart said he has not decided on a starting quarterback against SMU. ORACLE FILE PHOTO/ADAM MATHIEU

In the AAC’s weekly teleconference, coach Willie Taggart again made competition a point of emphasis. 

“I know a lot of guys have gotten better as the year went on, they just haven’t had a lot of opportunities,” Taggart said. “This is a great week to give them those opportunities and see who can execute at a high level consistently and give us a chance to win.”

The quarterback position has seen the most struggles this year with USF ranked 104th in the nation in passing offense. Taggart will continue his open competition to find the guy who is right for the job.

“With the quarterback position, and every position, we’re going to use this bye week to see who gives us the best chance of winning a football game,” Taggart said.

Taggart also gave praise for his freshman quarterback Quinton Flowers who is in the running for the starting role.

“(Flowers) can bring a little more from the standpoint of when things don’t go right, he can make it right with his legs,” Taggart said. “He’s just a really good talent. He’s young, he’s raw, but I think he has a big-time future ahead of him.”

The quarterback position won’t be the only one under the microscope during the team’s off-week. Taggart said he is looking at the entire team to find the players that can bring success.

“Whether it’s quarterback, O-line or defensive backs, we just have to make sure we have the right guys in there,” Taggart said.

The Bulls have been getting away from their identity of a strong rushing attack paired with a strong, run-stopping defense. They were held to just 76 yards on 29 carries in their 27-3 loss to Houston. 

“We have to be able to run the football and have to be able to stop the run,” Taggart said. “That’s what we wanted to be as a football team and we’re not doing it.”

In comparison, the Cougars were able to gash USF’s defense for 217 yards — USF’s second consecutive game allowing 215 yards or more on the ground.

The bye week gives Taggart two weeks to find the players he wants.

“We’re going to let them all compete throughout this week and really show what they can do,” Taggart said.

USF travels to take on SMU on Nov. 15 at 8 p.m. Coverage of the game will be on CBS Sports Network.