Though coach Willie Taggart said a change in offensive style is supposed to make the Bulls’ game more up-tempo, both the Green and White teams combined for one touchdown Saturday during the USF spring game at Corbett Soccer Stadium.
Even with the lack of offense by both teams, the Green team was able to edge the White team 10-9.
Green team quarterback Steven Bench’s 62-yard touchdown run down the right sideline with 11 minutes left in the first quarter was the lone touchdown in a game ridden with penalties and stalled drives — much like the Bulls’ past two seasons.
“I thought the offense on both sides had opportunities but they didn’t take advantage of them,” Taggart said.
Both teams combined for 13 penalties and nine punts throughout the game. And though there was a running clock during the second half, neither team was able to put any points on the board.
“I wasn’t happy with our tempo today,” Taggart said. “And I told our team that today. I thought we were walking around too much. Part of it is depth-wise when you divide the teams up.”
While the offense left much to be desired for the 3,255 fans in attendance, the defense displayed its potential under new defensive coordinator Tom Allen.
Tashon Whitehurst was the standout player on defense with 19 tackles, including a sack and an interception. Whitehurst had 11 more tackles than the second-leading tackler and said he’s enjoying the transition to a nickel defense.
“It allows me to just run around,” Whitehurst said. “For me to be able to just run around and hit one gap to another, that’s just a credit to the defense.”
New players making an impact
Redshirt freshman Chase Whitehead was a go-to target on short throws for quarterbacks Mike White and Bench on the Green team. The wide receiver led both teams with six receptions for 38 yards.
After losing receivers Andre Davis and Deonte Welch due to graduation, Whitehead could provide needed depth to the receiving corps.
Redshirt freshman tight end Elkanah Dillon led the White team with three receptions for 62 yards, sparked by a 49-yard reception from sophomore Quinton Flowers.
Both kickers fared well for kicking on a windy afternoon on a field with field goal posts that were smaller than ideal.
Senior Michael Hill made all three of his attempts, with his longest coming from 36 yards out. Sophomore Emilio Nadelman made his first attempt from 32 yards, but missed his second kick from 44 yards, which would have given the White team the lead with 12:45 remaining.
Harris suspended indefinitely
Whitehurst was in a battle with junior Nigel Harris for most of the spring, but Taggart gave word following the game that Harris has been suspended indefinitely.
Although Taggart did not allude to why the linebacker was suspended, he was seen arriving at the Lee Roy Selmon Athletics Center soon after the game had started by an Oracle reporter.
Alumni come back to town
As part of the spring game festivities, former USF players came back to participate in an alumni flag football game.
Among these former players was quarterback B.J. Daniels, who is currently under contract with the Seattle Seahawks. Daniels spoke about how important it is for
alumni to come back.
“I think it’s important to see the guys that have been through the same struggles that you have,” Daniels said. “It’s not easy — you have to battle school and football and there’s a lot going on. It meant a lot to me as a freshman and I want to do the same.”
As the group huddled together following the event, Taggart spoke to the former Bulls about just what it means to the current athletes to hear from them and encouraged all of them to continue showing their support.