TAMPA – After five practices on campus, the University of South Florida Bulls will shift training camp to the Vero Beach Sports Village today through next Saturday. First-year USF coach Willie Taggart said he’s looking forward to a distraction-free environment.
That is, when Taggart isn’t creating distractions of his own.
“We’re getting our guys away from where they feel comfortable and we want to throw in some uncomfortable situations and see how they execute,’’ Taggart said Friday afternoon. “We expect them to execute just like we do when we’re comfortable.
“That’s so important with our football team. There will be lots of times when we’re in uncomfortable situations (during the season).’’
Taggart said he expects the week in Vero Beach to help team chemistry and the bonding between players. In fact, he said large gains already have been made there because the staff made random roommate assignments in the dorms, such as putting a defensive back with an offensive lineman.
“These are guys who normally don’t hang around with each other,’’ Taggart said. “You have to get to know the other guy, get to know who his parents are, the sisters, the brothers … and you’ve got to tell us all in a team meeting.’’
FRESHMEN MAKING MARK: Ron Cooper, USF’s assistant head coach/defensive backs coach, said he is impressed with several of his freshmen, specifically naming Lamar Robbins, Hassan Childs, Johnny Ward and Nate Godwin. Cooper is “hoping’’ they will contend for playing time. Robbins had a great first week, by all accounts, including an interception and shutdown play when he was covering WR Andre Davis.
Meanwhile, Cooper said junior-college transfer Torrel Saffold, better known as a cornerback, has been working mostly at safety. “I feel like we needed to get more athletic at safety,’’ Cooper said. “Plenty of teams in our conference are going to put three receivers out there, and we’re going to play five defensive backs in a lot of games. We thought at safety Saffold would have a better chance to start.’’