Flowers named starter for Saturday

Freshman Quinton Flowers has been named USF’s starting quarterback by coach Willie Taggart, despite only throwing five passes this season. ORACLE FILE PHOTO/ADAM MATHIEU

Though he waited until the players took the field against Houston to announce the last starting quarterback change, coach Willie Taggart decided to release this week’s starter a bit earlier.

In an interview with WDAE 620-AM, Taggart announced freshman quarterback Quinton Flowers would start this week against SMU, making him the third starter at the position this season.

“This past week, we gave him more reps than we had before,” Taggart said. “Before he wasn’t getting a lot of reps so he really wasn’t able to show us exactly what he could do. We burned his redshirt and he goes out in practice and shows some of the things he can do.”

Taggart has spent two seasons searching for a quarterback he can stick with, but in his last 21 games as coach, he has had a total of five starters.

“(Finding a stable quarterback) is something we’ve been waiting for,” Taggart said. “Bottom line, that’s what has to happen. You have to take (the job) by the horns and say, ‘Hey, this is my offense.’ We’re really good at a lot of positions. We’re just waiting for (the quarterback) position to blossom like we know it can.”

Flowers has been limited in playing time so far this season — mostly coming in for one drive a game to run the spread option — but is going to see the first full action game of his college career.

“Sometimes you can limit kids because they’re young, saying they don’t know and don’t do this or that,” Taggart said. “So, last week we gave him more reps and didn’t install anything (new); we just told him to go out and play and he did a great job.”

Coming out of Miami Jackson High School, Flowers was compared to former USF starting quarterback B.J. Daniels. With a one-inch advantage and similar weight, the 6-foot, 217-pound QB has many of the same qualities as his predecessor.

“I tell him all the time he’s built like B.J. Daniels,” senior receiver Andre Davis said. “He has the same qualities and has the ability to be as great as (Daniels) was or even greater. (Flowers) is everything you look for in a football player. He can run, he throws the ball nice, and he can throw the deep ball. He brings yet another element to this offense.”

Flowers’ play time has been limited because he didn’t have a full handle on the playbook, but Taggart said he has come a long way and is capable of running the offense.

“A lot of it was being a young guy and not having training camp and not getting reps,” Taggart said. “You kind of assume that the kid doesn’t know a lot, but last week (in practice) he was impressive. We’re going to run our offense. We’re not going to expect him to do things he can’t do.”

Flowers threw for over 6,000 yards and rushed for an additional 2,000 at Miami Jackson.

Taggart said Flowers “showed in practice that he can handle a little more than we thought.”

Flowers will make his debut as a starter for USF at SMU on Saturday at 8 p.m. The game will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network.