TAMPA — The University of South Florida football team scrimmaged under the lights Tuesday night, its final game-like simulation of training camp before the Bulls’ season opener Aug. 31 against McNeese State.
“(This scrimmage) is very important for where we’re going and what we’re going toward next week,” coach Willie Taggart said. “I told our guys, ‘Treat it like a game. Prepare and compete like it’s a game because this scrimmage is going to count big toward you guys going forward with us and helping us win ballgames this year.’”
Taggart said the scrimmage will help determine which freshmen will redshirt, a decision he hopes is made clear by the end of this week.
Though the season is less than two weeks away, Taggart wasn’t concerned about players being too physical and potentially injuring one another.
“I want some big-time plays made,” he said. “I want to get excited. I don’t want to just be there, I want to see some big-time plays made on both sides of the ball.”
Taggart said he’ll have an idea of which freshmen will redshirt toward the end of this week.
UF’s Herndon rewarded with scholarship
GAINESVILLE — In Florida’s preseason there has been so much talk about how Matt Jones is trying to overcome a viral infection and how Mack Brown can do in his place if he can’t start the Aug. 31 opener vs. Toledo. Then there’s the development of freshmen Kelvin Taylor and Adam Lane.
But earlier this week, Gators coach Will Muschamp mentioned sophomore walk-on Mark Herndon among the top three backs so far in camp raising some eyebrows. On Tuesday, the term “walk-on’’ was replaced with scholarship player as Muschamp rewarded Herndon and redshirt senior DB Tim Clark for their hard work.
“It brought tears to my eyes,’’ said Herndon, an Ocala Forest standout who bypassed Miami, Fresno State and FAU to walk on in Gainesville. The first thing I did is called my mom and told her and she was ecstatic about it. I’m just trying to soak it all in right now.’’
Herndon said when he arrived at UF last year, Muschamp told him it would be two years until he could get a scholarship so he was caught off guard.
“I thought I was in a dream,’’ the 5-foot-9, 194-pound Herndon said. “If you had seen me, my mouth just dropped. It brought tears to my eyes. And Coach (Brian) White cried with me, and that was a big thing because it makes me feel like he really cares about us, and I feel it, I can feel that, and it was a real emotional thing for me. I usually don’t cry, but that was enough to do it.”
Fisher set to name FSU’s starting QB
TALLAHASSEE — By the end of the week, Florida State fans will know who their starting quarterback will be.
FSU coach Jimbo Fisher told reporters that he expected to make a decision on the starter following this afternoon’s scrimmage. After more than two weeks of preseason camp, redshirt freshman Jameis Winston and sophomore Jacob Coker have been competing for the job.
While Fisher may decide today, he won’t speak with reporters again until Friday.
The Seminoles have been in their first true quarterback battle since sophomore EJ Manuel challenged the senior Christian Ponder in 2010. Although the veteran won the job, Manuel still played often in relief that season.
Both later became first-round draft selections.
LUNCHEON: FSU unofficially gets the season going at noon Friday when the FSU Alumni Association hosts its 62nd kickoff luncheon. The event will be held inside the Tallahassee-Leon County Civic Center.