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September 26, 2013

USF head coach talks Miami, the youth movement and more

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USF head football coach Willie Taggart talked to the media Thursday in preparation of Saturday's noon kickoff with Miami and talked about starting QB Steven Bench, the offense and the youth movement for the Bulls.

"Steven brings a lot of energy to our offense and has some athletic ability that can get him out of trouble at times," Taggart said. "He's a coach's son who understands the game, he loves to play the game."

Taggart said Bench needs to be 'efficient' with the plays and continue to learn the USF playbook.

"He's still learning it. i don't expect him to have our entire playbook down in this short amount of time," Taggart said. "We just need him to be efficient. I think he knows enough of our offense to be efficient and do those things that are in our offense, and not come out of what we want to do offensively."

Taggart said TE Sean Price has been battling injuries and learning the playbook, but expects all of the receivers to progress.

"Sean hasn't been the healthiest, he's been battling some injuries," Taggart said. "They're (receivers and tight ends) are still learning the offense, and we've got to have consistent quarterback play. I think it's going to come in time as these guys continue to learn our offense."

The youth movement will continue, according to Taggart.

"You're going to see some freshmen play," Taggart said. "And they will continue to get playing time as the season goes."

Taggart pointed to DT Derrick Calloway, LB Nigel Harris, DBs Nate Godwin and Johnny Ward as well as Lamar Robbins are expected to see significant playing time.

Offensively, Taggart mentioned that younger players like Dominique Threatt and Darius Tice who may see playing time on the offensive line and in the backfield, respectively.

Taggart addressed the frustration of starting 0-3 and said 'it's my job to lead'.

"I've been through this before," Taggart said of the slow start. "The exact same situation. If I thought like everybody else, we'd definitely be in trouble."

"We've got to keep our head down and keep working," Taggart said. "Yes, we lost some games that we thought we should have one, but we've just got to play better football. I understand people's frustration, but all I ask is once we get back rolling, they need to get back on board."

Miami's defense has been a turnover machine the last two games, forcing five turnovers against Florida and four against Savannah State.

"They are creating turnovers and eliminating turnovers," Taggart said of Miami. "And those are two keys to winning football games."

Offensively, Taggart said this will be a big test for the defensive secondary of the Bulls.

"They've got a guy by the name of Duke Johnson and he's the real deal Holyfield out there. He is a phenomenal running back," Taggart said. "They've got some receivers who can run, so this is going to be the first time our secondary has been tested. They like to throw the ball deep."

Notes: Taggart said Reshard Cliett is expected to play, but said that Jaquez Jenkins is doubtful. "We'll see how it goes today," Taggart said. of Jenkins. "He ran around a bit yesterday and we'll see how it goes today, but he's doubtful"... USF will wear all green Saturday for the 12-noon kickoff.



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