TAMPA, Fla. — Uncle Mel can feel the excitement building around the practice facility for the University of South Florida Bulls-the Frank Morsani Football Complex.
Bulls’ football coach Willie Taggart named Mike White as his starting quarterback for the new football season.
Well now, your old buddy Uncle Mel is not saying that he agrees with that choice but he is also not saying that he disagrees with the choice either, it is more of a what and see attitude.
Taggart tells Uncle Mel that there were many late night meetings, lots of hours of studying films from last season and from the practice video and finally he got input from his coaching staff-the choice was made for White.
“He has the experience, he knows what to expect now, I think he’ll go and do the things a quarterback to do from a leadership standpoint,” Taggart said about White to Uncle Mel. “Mike has all the qualities to be a great leader. Now knowing he’s our quarterback, they can rally behind him and he can do his part of not only leading our offense but our entire football team.”
You know nieces and nephews, here is the thing that is going to keep your old uncle in a quandary.
White and his quarterback team mates, Steven Bench, Quinton Flowers and Eric Wilson have had a decent fall camp, why even Taggart says that he is pleased with the progress that the Bulls quarterbacks have made.
Bench threw for 317 yards in the spring game and that includes three touchdown passes, Flowers have proven that he can scramble and run to get out of trouble and he has beat the Bulls defensive backfield and Wilson has chipped in with completing a pass over the heads of the defensive backs.
Do you see were your old buddy is going with his concerns?
Is it, that the quarterbacks have developed or is it that the defensive back field is just weak?
Do all of my nieces and nephews remember last season, Taggart said that he wished that his defense could have prevented long gains that kept the defense out on the field longer.
He also said, part of the reason for the opposition success on offense was because they could continue drives and one reason, was they were able to make big plays by throwing the ball.
So your old uncle is wondering what about the group that will be playing linebackers, cornerback and safety, this season?
With the graduation of key players in the corps of linebackers, will the new linebackers be able to play and support the defensive line and assist the defensive backs?
The Bulls will be playing a different defense this season, Taggart will say so long to the 4-3 defense and say hello to the new and improved 3-4 look.
“Just losing a lot of guys up front and looking at the personnel, Coach Taggart and Defensive Coordinator Chuck Bresnahan spent some time talking about the 3-4,” Bull’s Assistant Coach Raymond Woodie said about the new defensive look. “We just wanted to fit our personnel. It’s not about what you do; it’s about the guys that fit the scheme.”
So far the linebackers have responded and like the scheme.
Bulls’ former fullback, Auggie Sanchez, he is playing linebacker and Sanchez is excited about the new scheme.
“I love it!” Sanchez said. “The traditional 4-3 is kind of basic, offense can plan for you. But when you put this 3-4 in, we do a lot of slanting, either the outside linebacker coming or the strong side coming and you can confuse them with a bunch of disguises.”
University of South Florida junior linebacker, Tashon Whitehurst said that he likes all of the disguise and hopes to create havoc.
“It feels good because it gives me a chance to do what I really want be in space,” Whitehurst said. “Disguising, I’m really good at that and it lets me use my speed on the edge and inside depending on what kind of defense we’re in.”
Sophomore linebacker Nigel Harris is enjoying the new scheme and he says it is a simpler defense.
“The new defense is modified to where everybody’s role is simpler,” Harris said. “Everybody can play fast and get to the ball easier.”
Uncle Mel has been lectured about the 3-4 defense by football coaches from different conferences and different levels and this is what your old uncle has learned.
The key to the 3-4 is that the linebackers must control the running game, the defensive line has to be quick enough to effect the pocket and create rushing lanes for the linebackers.
Another key for the success of the 3-4 defense, is this and it is an important element to the new defensive scheme. The defensive back field must be able to tackle and provide support for the linebacker. If the defensive backfield can’t make the stop, then there will be more agony from fans watching in the stands and by the coaches on the field and in the booths as we all watch the Bulls defense give up big plays that result in points.
With all of that excitement, Taggart will put his new defense in the spot light Saturday night Aug. 30, against Western Carolina University at Raymond James Stadium starting at 7 p.m.
The excitement continues to build and fill the air with electricity at the Morsani Football Complex and with the clock is ticking toward the start of the new football season. Uncle Mel will be watching with excitement to see if the 3-4 defense is the right answer for the Bulls.
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.