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Monday, Dec 22, 2014
USF Bulls

USF Bulls, Taggart open spring football with spirited practice

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TAMPA -

There was urgency. There was spirited chatter. Coaches sprinted through drills. Players were constantly moving.

It was only the first spring workout for coach Willie Taggart at the University of South Florida – Wednesday morning’s early morning practice field was a long way from the Aug. 31 opener against McNeese State at Raymond James Stadium – but the Bulls already look like they can’t wait for the season to arrive.

Taggart said he slept in his practice gear – “even had my whistle on.’’ After waking, he put on his shoes and headed to campus.

As USF players began their stretching and warm-ups, “Knuck If You Buck’’ by Crime Mob blared from the sideline speakers and the mood was set.

“I can’t tell you what the difference is (between this routine and previous USF practices), this is just how we do it,’’ said Taggart, who was hired from Western Kentucky University when Skip Holtz was fired following a 3-9 season. “We come out here ready to attack this day with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind.

“Have some juice. (Don’t) come out here to be dull and boring. This is football. This is competing time. Be excited to get out here. I see them (players) all the time with headphones on. That gets them going. Why not a little music out here?’’

USF will hold 14 more spring practices. The public is invited Saturday afternoon from 2:30-5 p.m. and the spring game is April 13 at RJS.

What can fans expect to witness?

For one thing, competition.

“Nobody has a set job,’’ Bulls junior receiver Andre Davis said. “I’m going to come out here to grind, day in and day out. I’m sure other guys are, too. Nobody has a position right now. We’re all (equal).’’

“Coach Taggart has made it very clear that the past is the past and we’re not going to worry about that anymore,’’ said Bulls senior quarterback Bobby Eveld, who has recovered from a season-ending shoulder injury suffered at Miami. “We’re not looking back on maybe mistakes or even positive things we’ve done. We want to move on from that.’’

Eveld, who is competing with sophomore Matt Floyd and possibly incoming freshman Mike White for the starting job, is energized by all the changes.

“I’ve learned a ton or what feels like a ton,’’ Eveld said. “It’s just a fraction of the offense so far. We just had a walk-through and I was kind of swimming (mentally) a little bit. We’re going to find out what everything is about (through spring practices).

“Obviously, we want to do something. We want to make some noise in the country this year, not just the Big East or whatever conference we’re going to be in, but we want to make some national noise. We’re going to try and do something.’’

Taggart’s spring expectations are basic.

“Just get better each day,’’ he said. “Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Go hard. Let’s see how good we can be. This is football time now. We’ve got to get better as players and coaches.’’

MITCHELL FACES COURT DATE: Terrence Mitchell, one of three players “suspended indefinitely’’ by Taggart, is scheduled to be arraigned in Hillsborough County court on Monday after being charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana during a March 2 traffic stop in Temple Terrace, according to a Temple Terrace Police Department report. Mitchell, USF’s second-leading receiver last season, WR Chris Dunkley and RB Bradley Battles are not participating in spring drills, but Taggart said “they could be back’’ if they meet his stipulations.


jjohnston@tampatrib.com

(813) 259-7353

Twitter: @JJohnstonTBO

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