TAMPA – University of South Florida coach Willie Taggart calls them the “dog days,’’ the last few practices of training camp, the time when everyone is itching to begin and hoping the Aug. 30 opener against Western Carolina arrives as soon as possible.
It’s also the time when Taggart and his staff can learn plenty about the USF players.
“We’re still working,’’ Taggart said Thursday. “We’re working at getting better at what we do.’’
There have been some high-profile moments, such as the selection of sophomore Mike White as the starting quarterback and the installation of 3-4 principles into USF’s base defense.
“The hard work never ends,’’ USF defensive coordinator Chuck Bresnahan said. “We’re still taking every day to pay attention to detail. You’re looking forward to game week and all, but you can’t lose sight of the details.’’
“The grind is pretty much over, but it’s not over in a sense because we have the season coming,’’ Bulls sophomore S Nate Godwin said. “We’re definitely anticipating it. We want the season to get here.’’
PREP DEBUT: Taggart and his coaches will be circulating throughout the area tonight when the high school football Kickoff Classics are staged. There’s value in watching how the players perform — “strange things happen to some people when the lights come on,’’ Taggart said — but even more in studying their off-field habits.
“I think it’s very important to watch them in a playing environment, something you ultimately want them to do for you,’’ Taggart said. “It’s a lot more than games. You can see a lot in warmups, how they approach the game, what they think of the opponent, sportsmanship, competitiveness. You get a lot talking to coaches, teachers, watching practice. But the more games you watch, the better.’’