TAMPA — When the going got tough, the University of South Florida Bulls began “looking for more bad things to happen instead of dealing with adversity.”
That was the assessment of USF football coach Willie Taggart in the wake of Saturday night’s stunning 53-21 home loss against McNeese State, a Football Championship Subdivision opponent.
“I think the guys stopped playing with a lot of passion,’’ Taggart said on Monday’s American Athletic Conference teleconference. “They got frustrated and stopped playing within this defensive system. They tried to play football their way instead of trying to make plays.
“We didn’t have (defensive) guys in the gap they were supposed to be in. … They started to look for bad things to happen instead of just playing within the scheme and keep believing. That’s part of the whole culture change, getting our guys to believe, no matter what. Play within the system. Don’t do your own thing. We had guys who weren’t in their gaps or they were getting there too late.” UNCERTAIN AT QB: Taggart said he expects to decide on a starting quarterback later this week as the Bulls prepare for Saturday afternoon’s game at Michigan State. Sophomore Matt Floyd, who was benched after opening the third quarter with his second interception, and senior Bobby Eveld, who threw two touchdowns in relief, will compete during practice.
“Matt wasn’t sharp at all,” Taggart said. “It was surprising. He missed some throws, missed some reads. It was uncharacteristic of what Matt has been for us in training camp. I was expecting a lot more. ... It was good to see Bobby come in and spark our offense a little bit and get us going.”
ODDS AND ENDS: ESPNU will carry Saturday’s game at Michigan State. … McNeese State’s 31 points in the second quarter tied for the most points ever allowed by USF in one quarter. Cincinnati also scored 31 in the first quarter of a 2007 game against the Bulls. … Senior OG Lawrence Martin, suspended from the opener for a violation of team rules, is expected back this week. … Taggart said barring anything “dramatic,’’ freshman DT Bruce Hector and FB Kennard Swanson are expected to redshirt. They weren’t in uniform for the opener. … Senior DE Julius Forte (knee) is expected back at practice, but sophomore OG Thor Jozwiak (irregular heartbeat) is still out.