TAMPA – In an effort to promote unity and teamwork, Coach Willie Taggart said his University of South Florida football players will not have their names displayed on the back of their jerseys this season.
Instead of last names, the USF jerseys will read, “THE TEAM.”
“We’re all Bulls and we’re a team,” Taggart said. “Not to say the names won’t come back at some point (in future seasons), but we’re focusing on the team and that’s what it needs to be.
“After going through our first year, that’s one of the things our coaching staff felt it could do better, just becoming a team, making it all about USF, not about individuals. When you have that, good things can happen for us.”
WHITE GETS THE JOB: Sophomore QB Mike White said he was excited to learn Sunday night that he was named the starter, but also praised the work of junior Steven Bench, who competed fiercely, along with freshmen Evan Wilson and Quinton Flowers.
“I think we’ve got one of the best quarterback rooms in the conference,” White said. “Steven (Bench) is a class act. He congratulated me as soon as the announcement was made. I’m going to support him no matter what. He’s one play away from playing as well.
“I’m excited, but (being named the starter) is not the end goal. Winning games is the end goal. I’m up for the challenge.”
Taggart said the coaching staff weighed the positives and negatives of each player and determined that White, who started the final five games last season as a true freshman, was the best choice.
“Mike has done a great job of running our offense throughout spring and training camp,” Taggart said. “I think all four (quarterbacks) made great strides and I think we’ve got four who can play. The competition made them better and Steven (Bench) made it tough (to choose).
“I think Mike, now that he has some experience and knows what to expect, he’ll go and do the things a quarterback is supposed to do from a leadership standpoint.”
ONE-HANDED CATCH: Senior WR Andre Davis provided some buzz during the morning practice when he made a jaw-dropping one-handed touchdown reception — as he reached around the back of a pass defender.
“I was telling him, ‘Don’t use them all in practice. Save a few for the games this year,’ ” Taggart said. “He has unbelievable ball skills. Everybody is looking to see what he’s going to do next. It was great for me. I was just bragging on him to a couple of (NFL) scouts, then he made that catch. I was like, ‘Sweet!’ ”