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Scott, Fortin discuss starting quarterback decision at Tuesday press conference

USF quarterback Cade Fortin (above) spoke to the media Tuesday morning after being named this year’s starter. ORACLE PHOTO/RICHARD SILVA

The @USFFootball Twitter account announced Monday afternoon sophomore quarterback Cade Fortin would be the team’s starter heading into Week 1, and coach Jeff Scott expanded on the decision Tuesday.

After a season in 2020 where the Bulls couldn’t seem to find a starting quarterback, being able to identify a guy before Week 1 was a relief for Scott.

“That’s definitely a big step,” he said. “I feel like it’s the reason I have a lot of optimism for this team going into the year, because of not just Cade but with the other guys, the talent that we have in that room.

“That’s a big box that needed to be checked, and obviously Cade has got to go out and perform and do those things, but I’m confident that he will. It’s not going to be perfect, it never is, but he’s really prepared and worked and he’s ready to go.”

Since transferring from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2020, Fortin has shown a level of consistency and improvement that made Scott feel comfortable with giving him the nod.

“[He’s had adversity], but really since January he’s been working extremely hard and really established himself as one of our leaders on our team,” Scott said. “[He’s] just been very consistent throughout spring practice, summer workouts and fall camp. So, [I’m] looking forward to having him lead us here next Thursday.”

The opportunity has been a long time coming for Fortin, whose last collegiate start came against NC State in 2018 while with the Tar Heels. He’ll once again have the opportunity to take on the Wolfpack in the season opener as the Bulls travel to Raleigh on Sept. 2.

Amid the excitement, however, being the starter comes with a certain level of responsibility and pressure he may not have felt before.

“With the pressure of being the starter, I try not to think about that … I think the preparation is kind of what weeds out the nervousness and the pressure of that,” Fortin said. “Getting in the film room and studying and learning my opponent is going to give me more confidence.

“Then working with the guys, working with the game plan and working with coach [Charlie] Weis [Jr.] is really going to build the confidence and ease any pressure that anybody might feel, but I’m good with it all. I’m ready just to get to work and get it started.”

The Bulls will open their season against the NC State Wolfpack on Thursday, Sept. 2 at 7:30 p.m.