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February 20, 2014
Spring Fever: Battle for QB begins this spring
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Spring football is already here. After a very tough 2-10 season in 2013, the Bulls are entering their second spring under Coach Willie Taggart and the coaching staff as they prepare for a better year in 2014.
With a second year of conditioning under Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Hans Straub, the Bulls should be a lot stronger and faster coming out of the spring. As the practices begin and the spring game looms, here are things to watch at each position, starting at quarterback.
Not only will USF have an experienced starter coming back - something the Bulls lacked last year - but a new offensive coordinator in Paul Wulff and a new quarterbacks coach in David Reaves. Yes, Reaves was the wide receivers coach last year - but this year he'll have all spring to work with the quarterbacks.
Another factor is - the two leading candidates for the starting job will get a chance to go through spring drills - something neither did last year.
Mike White - 6'4 186 lbs. - sophomore
Steven Bench - 6'2" 208 lbs. - junior
Matt Floyd - 6'1" 202 lbs. - Redshirt junior
Tommy Eveld - 6'5" 189 lbs. - Redshirt sophomore
Left the program
Incoming in the fall
After playing 4 quarterbacks last year, the Bulls will still be sorting out the position with open competition throughout the spring. Mike White, who started the final 6 games, showed flashes of pocket presence and the ability to get the ball down the field, but made mistakes during the learning process. Steven Bench, the Penn State transfer, had to play catch-up learning the offense and was injured in limited playing time before Mike White took over the job. Matt Floyd won the starting role coming out of the fall last year but quickly lost the job after the first game and never stepped on the field after that. Tommy Eveld did not play last year.
This spring, all signs point to Mike White to continue to get the majority of the first team reps as the coaching staff continues to evaluate him after his freshman campaign. Steven Bench, who showed some signs with his mobility last year, will push for snaps and will get an equal opportunity to compete for the starting role heading into the spring game. The coaching staff won't make a full depth chart out of the spring, but these two will be battling for the spots. Matt Floyd seems to be the lone man out after falling so far after the first game against McNeese State. While some have speculated he could transfer, he is still with the team and will be back out on the field, taking snaps and battling White and Bench for a spot. Tommy Eveld will also be out there battling for snaps, but he is behind the other three entering the spring.
It should be interesting to see the maturation of White and Bench after the winter and how far they have come along. They will get a chance to prove they should be the starter entering the fall, putting them ahead of incoming freshman Quinton Flowers.