BROOKSVILLE, Fla. — It is official nieces and nephews, just a little over 30 days to go and another college football season will be starting and you know what that means-another trip aboard the University of South Florida Bulls bus with your driver and coach of the Bulls, Willie Taggart.
We all remember the bus ride from last year, all the twist and turns, all the songs that Taggart would sing before and after the game but there was always seamed to be some bitter disappointment by the fans that remained aboard the bus.
Last season, the Bulls finished the season with an overall record of 2-10 and completed the first season in the American Athletic Conference in eighth place. There were a lot of breakdowns along the way.
Taggart is expecting Bulls’ quarterback Stephen Bench to continue improving through the season. Bench raised eyebrows and the hopes of Taggart by throwing for 317 yards during the Green and White game at the end of spring drills.
“I liked those touchdowns,” Taggart said about Bench’s performance during the spring game. “Steven did a nice job getting the ball to the receivers and getting it to them on time.”
What Taggart is expecting and what will happen, are of course two different things.
Taggart did not expect to score on the opening play of the 2013 season against McNeese State University but the Bulls did, he did not expect that his quarterbacks would lead the universe in throwing so many interceptions that went back the other way for a touchdown but they did and he did not expect his defense to be push around the field like a run away shopping cart in an empty parking lot but they did.
The bus ride was pretty smooth when Bulls running back Marcus Shaw stepped on the gas pedal for 80 yards against the Cowboys, there was plenty of singing and dancing after that play but then disastrous plagued the Bulls for the rest of the season.
The quartet of quarterbacks used by Taggart, trying to find somebody that could direct the offense and could accurately throw the football was a continuing journey. The Bull’s quarterbacks combined and together threw 16 interceptions and five were returned for a touchdown.
Taggart said his defense just needed to make one stop during a game to help the offense but there were too many times the Bulls’ defense gave up big plays during key periods of the game that kept the defense on the field and the ball away from the Bulls offense.
The Bulls defense gave up 35 touchdowns during the 2013 season and gave up an average of 5.4 yards per play.
Taggart says what happen last season is old news and just dust-devils in the rear view mirror, he says this year’s bus will be a new model with some power in the motor and the young conductors of last season now have a year of experience, so Taggart is expecting a smooth ride.
Taggart will make the trip to the American Athletic Conference Media Day, July 28-29 which is being held again at the Viking Hotel located in Newport, Rhode Island and he will be able to tell his tale. All about this year’s ride aboard the USF Express, what he is expecting and the hope of arriving at his appointed destination – a conference championship and a bowl game.
The route for this season begins August 30, 2014 at Raymond James Stadium against Western Carolina University starting at 7 p.m.
So come on nieces and nephews, if you like a thrill ride with all the twist and turns, a roller-coaster ride up and down steep grades then purchase a ticket, grab a seat, because this year aboard the Bulls Express, Taggart is promising a great trip through the 2014 football season-all aboard!
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.