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October 10, 2013

Taggart talks injuries, defense and UConn

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South Florida head coach Willie Taggart spoke candidly about Saturday's game with the 0-4 Connecticut Huskies.

The first question of the Thursday press conference was directed at the injuries to starting quarterback Steven Bench and running back Marcus Shaw.

"Those guys are better than they were yesterday," Taggart said of the two main offensive weapons. "Today's important to see how they go out and run around today to see if they can help us."

Taggart said he would likely make a decision on the starting quarterback after Thursday's practice, but was coy about the status of the two offensive players.

Unlike the Bulls, UConn knows who will start Saturday - freshman Tim Boyle.

Boyle originally committed to Boston College and when the new staff came in - he was told that he didn't fit. He latched on with UConn. Boyle grew up in Storrs and will be psyched for the game.

Maybe too psyched - as the Bulls will try to take advantage of an offensive line that has given up 19 sacks already.

"We want to try and hit the quarterback every chance we get and hopefully we'll get that chance Saturday," Taggart said. "Our kids played with so much confidence last week and you play with confidence when you know the scheme and game plan."

If Bench and or Shaw cannot play, Taggart has the ultimate confidence in Bobby Eveld and Michael Pierre.

"You just never know when you'll get that opportunity. You only get one shot so take advantage of it when it comes," Taggart said of Eveld and Pierre stepping up. "I think that's good for our football team where we allow other guys to come in and play. We're not going to sit around and pout because the other guy is down. Next guy up."

The Bulls showed a wrinkle in the defense last week, with ends Aaron Lynch and Ryne Giddins standing up instead of taking a four-point stance on the line. It still, however, is a four-man front according to Taggart.

"On the defensive scheme of things, we're still a four-down front team," Taggart said. "It's just a scheme where when you face certain teams, you get a different personnel groupings. Our guys responded well and really ran it so it can be effective."

News and notes

Taggart complimented the work ethic of former starter Matt Floyd, who hasn't played since being pulled for Bobby Eveld midway through the McNeese State game.... Taggart talked about the progression of the defense - saying they are 'coming together.' Saturday's game will be broadcast on Brighthouse Networks in the Tampa Bay area - on channel 1147 HD and 47 on the cable provider's lineup... other affiliates that will carry the game are WBFS - Channel 32 in Fort Lauderdale/Miami, WKCF in Daytona/Orlando (Ch. 18), WAWS - Fox 30 in Jacksonville and SNY and MASN networks in the northeast area.... Taggart and interim coach T.J. Weist coached together as assistants at Western Kentucky - and won a national title together before Taggart left for Stanford... not only was Paul Pasqualoni fired at UConn, but O-line coach George DeLeone was also released... UConn has not started 0-4 since 1991 when the Huskies were a FCS program....USF will play Connecticut Saturday at 12 Noon



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