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Scott’s new deadline to find a starter is ‘ASAP’

Jeff Scott said he doesn’t have a set deadline to find a new starting quarterback, he just wants to find one soon. Because COVID-19 has offered less-than-ideal conditions, his search is taking longer than expected. ORACLE PHOTO/BRIAN HATTAB

Coach Jeff Scott admitted he made a mistake in the process of evaluating his quarterbacks for the starting role.

Not one that has drastically changed the flow of the game but more of a rookie mistake when saying he’d have a starting quarterback selected by the start of conference play.

“It’s probably a rookie coaching mistake … and I knew when I said it back in August … that anytime you’re going into an unknown and you set something as a guide, that probably wasn’t going to happen,” Scott said, cracking a smile during his weekly Zoom press conference. “I just wanted to be transparent and honest, that’s what I told our players.”

The reality is USF has hit its fair share of setbacks. Between sophomore North Carolina transfer Cade Fortin missing the first two weeks of play and a postponed game against Florida Atlantic, the quarterback competition doesn’t have a solid answer — yet.

But progress has been made, albeit slowly, in deciding where players fit in the depth chart. Without dropping his name, Scott suggested that Fortin has moved into the backup position.

“The young man that started fourth in the week is now second going into the game because he’s earned that opportunity by how he’s practiced all week long,” Scott said.

Now, when it comes to locking in a starter, there is no set deadline for Scott. It just needs to happen as soon as possible.

“My new deadline is ASAP,” he said.

Scott’s quest could end after the game against East Carolina this weekend.

“My hope, the best-case scenario, is that after the game we have a quarterback play very very well, and we can say ‘Hey, based off what we saw today he’s our starting quarterback,’” Scott said.

Or there’s also a chance the search continues.

“One of these weeks hopefully everybody knows who our starting quarterback is going to be and even who the second quarterback is going to be,” Scott said. “That would actually be a good scenario.”

Whether the quarterback competition is completed by Saturday or it drags on to next week, Scott said he’s going to give the player he goes with against the Pirates a good chance to earn the role.

But he also wants to win the game and won’t hesitate to rotate the man under center. 

“Whoever’s out there first we’re gonna give him an opportunity to go out and play well, and if they do, then they may continue to play the whole game,” Scott said. “If we’re not satisfied with how they play early on, we won’t be scared to go to the next guy.”

Despite a clearly less-than-ideal scenario, Scott is confident that they’ll find their guy eventually. It just might not be this weekend.

“We’re close, I really do believe that we’re close to getting to that point, we just got to play consistently on the field,” he said.

“I’m optimistic that it’s going to be sooner than later.”