First-year University of South Florida coach Willie Taggart, attempting to jazz up Saturday night’s Green and White spring game at Raymond James Stadium, implemented a player draft to split up the teams.
Junior wide receiver Andre Davis, a noted playmaker who set USF’s single-game receiving record last season, went 18th overall.
“He’s a special talent who can do big things,’’ Taggart said. “Our GMs need to check out our coaches and everybody who was drafting. We’ve got to do a better job, get that guy up higher.
“I guess he was playing with a chip on his shoulder.’’
Davis had two touchdown receptions, including an 85-yard score on the White team’s first play from scrimmage, to lead a 14-11 victory against the Green team.
Davis said receivers coach David Reaves “dialed up our first play” Saturday morning and he knew it would be a touchdown. Davis got behind the linebacker, gathered in a pass from Matt Floyd, split the safeties and sprinted untouched to the end zone.
“I was out of there,” Davis said.
“It’s great to have a guy who can go up, get the ball and make plays,” Floyd said. “That’s what he does. That’s what we need.”
Davis had the biggest impact on the spring game, but Taggart said there were highlight performances on both sides of the ball.
Floyd, embroiled in a quarterback competition with Bobby Eveld, was nine of 16 for 208 yards, although his night was marred by four fumbles (three lost). Eveld was 14 of 24 for 143 yards, but he threw the game’s only interception (to linebacker Reshard Cliett).
“I thought Matt did some good things, but like I told him through the spring, if you put that ball on the ground, it takes away from all those good things you did,’’ Taggart said. “Bobby Eveld made some throws, but didn’t play as well as I thought he would play.”
Taggart added that the running game didn’t produce as well as it had during previous practices and the backs “had some holes, but they weren’t as patient and didn’t trust their blocks.’’
He was more complimentary of the defense, particularly linebackers Hans Louis (game-high six tackles, two tackles for a loss and one fumble recovery), DeDe Lattimore and Cliett, plus defensive end Aaron Lynch (one sack) and defensive tackle Luke Sager.
“Early in the spring, our defense was way ahead of our offense,’’ Taggart said. “The offense has come along. They are understanding things better.’’
It’s understood that Davis will be a key part of USF’s offense.
“I like to lead by example,’’ Davis said. “I really don’t like to talk. I’m going to be a leader from basically my demeanor. I want to make plays for the team.’’
Davis already is appreciated by his teammates. Largely due to his efforts, the White team will get steak at an upcoming squad cookout. The Green team gets hot dogs.
“I would prefer steak, but hot dogs aren’t too bad,” Eveld said.