Bulls’ defensive coordinator Raymond Woodie ‘s first year has been a bumpy ride to say the least.
Starting the first eight games of his reign as USF’s head defensive coordinator, Woodie has helped lead the Bulls to a 6-2 record while calling plays from the coaches’ booth.
Despite the winning record, Woodie’s role came into question by fans as the Bulls have allowed an average of 466 yards per game coming into their matchup with AAC foe Navy.
Noting the need for change, Woodie took the auxiliary elevator at Raymond James Stadium downstairs to field level to guide his unit from the sidelines for their meeting with the Midshipmen, a game the Bulls won 52-45.
By moving from high above the field to eye-level, Woodie said that being able to work directly with his players as situations arise in-game is a key element going forward.
“When you have guys that you see day-to-day, week-to-week, when they’re right in your face asking questions about the adjustments and what you think about this and what you think about that …it feels like a home,” Woodie said Wednesday afternoon.
“I mean you’re right there in their face. Up top is good as well, but it’s a different feeling. Now you got them coming right off the field and you can do a couple more things down there as a coordinator that you probably couldn’t do (before).”
Sophomore safety Nate Ferguson said being closer to Woodie during the game is beneficial as he develops into his role at striker.
“It’s good because it’s just like practice,” Ferguson said.
“He’s here in practice, and when he’s in the box we can’t really talk to him … him yelling at us and teaching us … it’s going to get us going.”
After failing to come out for a fourth quarter field goal attempt in the waning minutes of the win against Navy, junior kicker Emilio Nadelman has not dressed at practice this week, and was seen on crutches Tuesday due to a quad injury.
Nadelman, who is a perfect 7-for-7 on field goal attempts this year, will be replaced Saturday by walk-on junior Brandon Behr if he cannot go.
Behr, who had his only attempt of the season blocked by the Midshipmen on that fourth quarter kick, has secured the trust of Taggart.
“I have a lot of confidence in him,” Taggart said. “We always say that if a guy goes down, the next guy has to be ready to go. Same thing with Brandon: he’s got to be ready to go. We know he’ll get it done for us.”
Bulls’ junior safety Devin Abraham was back at practice this week, now rid of the cast that had been on his right hand.
Abraham missed the last four games after undergoing surgery on his hand.