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April 19, 2013

A Q&A with Coach Willie Taggart

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Willie Taggart continued his publicity tour of the Tampa Bay area as head of USF's football program, visiting USF St. Petersburg's campus for a "Locker Room Lunch" with students, staff, and the public on Friday afternoon. During the lunch, Coach Taggart took time to answer some questions posed by the Bulls faithful:

Q: How are you addressing the quarterback situation?

A: We have four guys on our campus right now that are competing for the starting quarterback position. Bobby Eveld and Matt Floyd are the two leading candidates. Both of those guys are learning our system, learning our offense, and they've done a great job up to this point. Floyd made some really good throws in that spring game. Eveld has been everything I've wanted from a leadership standpoint.

Q: Can you address the rumors about QB Clint Trickett possibly looking to transfer from FSU to USF?

A: I have no idea what you're talking about. *laughter* No comment.

Q: How does your network of contacts throughout the Tampa Bay area and the I-4 corridor help in recruiting?

A: It helps to build the relationships. Coaches have players that I may not know about, and they'll reach out to me and let me know that they have them. Relationships are everything. Having relationships around here will always help. A lot of times I don't have to call the coaches; they'll call me. But we know we also have to go to them and do our part and find the right fit for us. We want smart, tough, competitive football players...guys that want to be here. That's what we look for in recruiting.

Q: Has recruitment started for future classes?

A: Our coaches are getting out on the road starting Sunday. Recruitment actually started this past Monday, when we were allowed to go out and evaluate kids. This week we had our individual evaluation meetings with our players, and let them know where they stand with the program. Next week all of our coaches will be out on the road, recruiting the entire state of Florida, recruiting in our "in-state" which is the whole I-4 corridor. Our coaches have done a really great job so far of getting kids interested in our program, which is unique considering we were 3-9 last year. Once we get the players on our campus, USF sells itself.

Q: How do you intend to teach these young players discipline both on and off the field?

A: We're in the process of that. Discipline is so key in being successful; doing things the right way and holding each other accountable in doing what each person is supposed to do. I tell each player that there are three things I'm going to evaluate them on every day: being the best student they can be, being the best football player they can be, and having the best character that they can have. You've got to have at least two of the three; I can work with the one that you're not really good at, but if you don't at least two you're gone.

Q: How do you feel about playing the "bigger name" programs in college football?

A: I love it. But I don't look at other programs as "big time". South Florida is a big time program; I think part of the problem is that we don't look at ourselves that way. This is "big time"; it doesn't get any bigger than this. Those other programs are just that: teams that are coming into Raymond James Stadium to get beat. But I love playing prominent schools…to win national championships, you have to play teams that will help you get in that position.



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