TAMPA, Fla. —- It seems like it has been forever since there has been any news about University of South Florida football the old saying no news is good news-may be applied.
The last time a football game that involved the Bulls, was a road trip to the big city of Houston, Texas, inside Reliant Stadium to face the Cougars of the University of Houston in a American Athletic Conference showdown.
Well the Bulls put up a good effort but the Cougars offense prove to be too much for the Bulls’ defense and the University of Houston earned a 35-23, victory against the Bulls.
University of South Florida football coach Willie Taggart does not like to lose football games but he also can see the improvement through the hard work and dedication to the program by his team which is making strides in becoming a better team.
Against the Cougars, the Bulls started a new quarterback, freshman Mike White and his understanding of the Bulls offense makes Taggart optimistic about the rest of the 2013 football season.
White is the fourth quarterback of the season for the Bulls, he led the offense against the Cougars for 364 yards of total offense and so far this season that is the best production from the offense, White also threw the ball for 311 yards producing two touchdowns-not a bad start.
“It was good to see our offense in a sense of what we’re accustomed to seeing-getting first downs, moving the sticks and controlling the clock,” Taggart said about the improving offense. “It was good to see different guys stepping up to make plays. It’s something we hadn’t had all year.”
The football fans that watch and follow the University of South Florida are hoping that playmaking continues and that will produce victories.
Saturday night, Nov. 16 under the lights at the gracious home of the Bulls, Raymond James Stadium, the conference portion of the schedule picks up for the Bulls and the University of Memphis will shimmy and shaking into town.
The Tigers have not had the exciting feeling of winning a league game in four tries.
University of Memphis football coach Justin Fuente says his team will be ready for an improved USF offense, an explosive defense and he believes that special team play will play a pivotal role against the Bulls.
University of South Florida’s place kicker Marvis Kloss is a weapon that Taggart is happy that he can lean on to put some points on the board.
Getting the ball into position for Kloss is in the hands of White and the University of South Florida’s running game.
Bulls’ halfback Marcus Shaw has had another bye week to recover from any nagging injuries and should be ready for the test against the Memphis defense The Tigers rushing defense is rank No.14 in the NCAA allowing 108.3 yards per game.
“They rally to the football. At least in the tapes that we’ve watched, you don’t see a lot huge plays,” University of South Florida Offensive Coordinator Walt Wells said. “It’s not just a gash down the field. You have to earn your way down the field on them.”
Shaw so far this season, he has average rushed for 97.7 yards per game and Shaw has rushed 100-yards three times but his senior year has been slowed because of an injury he suffered against the University of Cincinnati.
“He’s really ready to go into the last part of the season and try to enjoy these last four ballgames,” Taggart said about Shaw. “He wants them to be the best four ballgames he’s had.”
University of South Florida’s offense is ranked 121st in the nation in total offense averaging 256 yards per game. The Bulls are averaging 154.4 yards passing and 101.6 yards rushing.
If the Bulls want a chance against the Tigers, then White is going to have to be able to balance the offense by adding accuracy to his passing game along with the running ability of Shaw to control the time of possession.
Against the Tigers, Taggart will need to get strong consistence play from both the wide receivers and the tight ends, to be ready stepping up to the chance is junior Andre Davis and red shirt Mike McFarland.
“I think Andre is becoming more comfortable with the offense,” Taggart said. “The things he’s doing are a lot sharper than before.”
Against the Cougars, Davis made nine catches for 134 yards, his best game of the season and Davis moved up to eighth place in the Bulls’ record book with 97 reception.
McFarland continue to be a playmaker for Taggart, he is second on the team with 179 reception yards.
University of South Florida will honor the men and women that serve in the armed forces, the kickoff is at 7 p.m.
Football fans that follow the Bulls are hoping that the layoff will not effect the offense and the ability to find the end zone and the Bull defense can keep the University of Memphis away from the end zone.
About the Author
Written by Mel Suiter
Graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 2002 and have been working as a beat writer for The Ypsilanti Courier covering Eastern Michigan University football and men's basketball during my school career and after graduation. I like the Mid-American Conference and the rest of the mid-major conferences.