University of South Florida sophomore QB Steven Bench, who will make his second college start Saturday night when the Bulls (0-4) face Cincinnati (3-1) at Raymond James Stadium, can best show improvement with more attention to detail and taking care of the football, USF coach Willie Taggart said Thursday.
Bench, a Penn State transfer who followed Matt Floyd and Bobby Eveld as USF’s starter this season, has thrown two interceptions and also lost a fumble in the end zone, which was recovered for a touchdown in Miami’s 49-21 victory.
“We felt like the times Steven has been in there, he has been kind of careless with the football,’’ Taggart said. “That’s Quarterback 101. A lot of it is Steven just being sure (on what to do). When he’s sure, he’s pretty, he’s right on what we need him to do.
“He needs to make good decisions, don’t take unnecessary hits, protect the ball when he’s being tackled and be OK with throwing the ball away when he needs to. Steven’s so competitive, sometimes that gets in the way. He needs to do what’s best for the football team, and that’s taking care of himself and taking care of the football.’’
LYNCH MOB: Sophomore DE Aaron Lynch, a transfer from Notre Dame who was mentioned in the preseason as a high first-round NFL draft choice, has nine tackles and no sacks through four games.
“What we all see is a guy who’s playing his second year of college football,’’ Taggart said. “He gets frustrated because he wants the things everybody else wants, too. He’s got to understand they’re going to come if he just keeps playing hard. Part of the frustration is because of all the hype he had coming into the season. He just has to play football and not worry about those other things.’’
BULLS BITS: Taggart said FS JaQuez Jenkins, who missed the Miami game with a leg injury, is expected to play against Cincinnati. But DE Tevin Mims, who was on crutches during the second half against UM, is likely to be out Saturday night. … The Bulls played eight true freshmen last week against Miami, but one of them wasn’t DT Bruce Hector (Robinson), who could be ticketed for a redshirt season. Taggart said he’s pleased with the progress of Hector, who was MVP of USF’s weekly freshman scrimmage. … Taggart on USF’s freshman class: “Our freshmen haven’t been around here. They haven’t experienced as much misery as our other guys. But they’ve experienced enough to see it’s something they don’t want.’’