University of South Florida starting quarterback B.J. Daniels has not been ruled out for Friday's game against Louisville, but with the uncertainty surrounding his availability the Bulls will prepare as though backup Bobby Eveld will be under center, coach Skip Holtz said Monday.
Daniels was diagnosed with a bruised AC joint in his right (throwing) shoulder, an injury that forced him to the sidelines during the third quarter of an eventual 6-3 loss to Miami on Saturday. Daniels did not practice Monday, and Holtz said the junior would have to practice at some point before Thursday to be considered an option against the Cardinals.
"I have found that people who don't practice all week normally don't play very well," Holtz said. "We'll just have to see how he's going to respond to the treatments and we're going to get ready to go with Bobby Eveld. … He should be ready to go and I would think that this team would rally around that."
Eveld, who finished the game against Miami in place of Daniels, has made one career start, in the 2010 regular season finale against Connecticut in place of an injured Daniels. While he doesn't know if his second will come Friday, the sophomore from Jesuit High knows the odds of it happening are greater than they have been at any point this season.
"I know B.J.'s feeling a lot better than he was on Saturday," Eveld said, "but I would say that the chances of me playing are probably a little bit better. So I have to prepare maybe a little bit more than I usually do, pay a little bit more attention to detail."
Eveld wasn't able to lead the offense to much success against the Hurricanes, which was his first action in more than two months. In four series with Eveld, the Bulls amassed 68 total yards. He finished 5-for-9 passing for 36 yards.
There were multiple factors for the unit's struggles, Holtz said. But the coach also reiterated Monday what he said in the postgame news conference, that Eveld didn't appear comfortable after being pressed into duty.
"Very uncharacteristically, Bobby was not as sharp mentally as he has been, as what we have come to expect from Bobby on a day-to-day basis," Holtz said. "I am certainly not pointing a finger at Bobby, but he's going to have to play better."
After watching film from the game, Eveld was pleased with his ability to take care of the football but said his focus is on eliminating missed reads. He felt things went well in practice Monday while working with the first team offense, and senior center Chaz Hine agreed.
"As far as I could tell, he was doing everything well today. He certainly focuses and he wants to be good, and that's the challenge for him," Hine said. "He's going to play as hard as he can and as well as he can, and I believe in him and he believes in us."
Should Daniels be unavailable against Louisville, USF also will have to decide what to do at the backup quarterback position. Freshman Matt Floyd is third on the depth chart, but he's worked most of the season running the scout team offense.
Holtz said Floyd would be given the backup reps in practice this week as long as Daniels is sidelined, and the coach added he'd evaluate Floyd's progress in running the base offense to determine if he'd be the best option. Other players who could be in the mix for the backup role are sophomore walk-on Ryan Eppes, and junior tight end Evan Landi and junior receiver Victor Marc, both of whom were quarterbacks in high school.
Holtz did make one thing clear regarding Floyd, however. Though the coaching staff had made the decision before the season to redshirt him, if Floyd proves to be the best option and the situation arises where he would need to play, there won't be hesitation putting him.
"I think for one game, for bowl eligibility, yes, it would be worth it," Holtz said. "If you told me that we had to pull a redshirt for bowl eligibility, yes, then I would pull a redshirt and play the young man because these seniors deserve that."