TAMPA, Fla. — Finally, the wait is over!
University of South Florida football coach Willie Taggart has named his starting quarterback for the 2014 season.
Even though he is the youngest of the group of quarterbacks in camp, Mike White is Taggart’s choice to led the Bulls’ offense.
“Mike has all those qualities to be a great leader. Now the team knowing he’s our quarterback they all can rally behind him and he can do his part of not only leading our offense but our entire football team,” Taggart said about White. “He has the experience, he knows what to expect now and now that he is the quarterback, I think he’ll go and do the things a quarterback to do from a leadership standpoint.”
White is just a sophomore, last season he made six appearances for the Bulls and starting five times for Taggart. White’s first start of his career was against the University of Houston. White threw for 311 yards and two touchdowns, the best start of a Bulls’ quarterback.
“It’s what every freshman wants, it is what every freshman dreams of. They don’t go to college to red shirt, they go to college to play,” White said about his experience last season. “I was one of the very few that got that opportunity to play and I’m thankful for it. I got my game experience. I made mistakes last year and now I know what to expect going into the season.”
Last season, White threw the ball 175 times completing 93 passes for a total of 1,063 yards and he threw three passes that went for touchdowns but he also threw nine interceptions, including four against the University of Memphis.
The competition this season in camp for the starting position at quarterback is pushing all of the players at that position and Taggart said that the competition is making White a better player.
“I think all four quarterbacks have done a great job. I think Steven (Bench) and Mike’s competition made both of them better,” Taggart said. “Mike has done a great job of running our off season throughout spring and throughout training camp. We met as a staff and kind of went around the table giving pluses and minuses on everyone and we came with the decision that Mike would be our quarterback.”
Just in case and White is having a bad day, Bench will be ready to lend a helping hand if White needs some extra help.
“Before I was in the quarterback contention to now he’s never stopped helping me,” White said about Bench. “We have fun off the field, play video games and stuff like that and talk about our old baseball stories. He is a great guy and I wouldn’t rather be in a competition with anybody else.”
Bench made five appearance last season for the Bulls, he threw the ball 64 times and completed 26 passes for a 40.6 passing percentage. He threw for 392 yards, two touchdown passes and he threw three interceptions.
Bench’s performance in the spring game forced Taggart to take notice of the improvement made by Bench. He threw for 317 yards and three touchdowns.
Taggart also says he also like the way freshman quarterback Quinton Flowers is improving with each day of practice. Taggart also likes that Flowers has an excellent work ethic and is not afraid to ask questions.
Flowers also made some serious strides during a scrimmage game during camp when he threw three touchdown passes and Taggart also took note that Flowers has an ability to scramble and get out of trouble.
The last quarterback that is making some strides is red shirt freshman Evan Wilson, he also threw a touchdown pass in the spring game.
“I’m excited about the quarterback position and where we’re at there!” Taggart said.
For college football fans, the wait is almost over. The season starts for the Bulls Saturday night August 30, at Raymond James Stadium against Western Carolina University starting at 7 p.m.
Taggart is hoping that the fans and the Bulls won’t have to wait forever for a victory.
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.