By TOM ZEBOLD
USF Senior Writer
TAMPA - Matt Floyd made the most of an unexpected situation last Saturday and now he's ready to get the USF offense rolling.
The redshirt freshman became USF's main man behind center when Bobby Eveld separated his shoulder against Miami and Floyd is getting more comfortable with time.
"The first couple of drives I was still getting my feet week, still kind of nervous, but on that two-minute drive I settled down and got more comfortable throwing the ball," he said.
Floyd shook off two interceptions and went on to complete 20 of 35 passes in the most extensive outing of his career.
"I would like to not have those two picks," he said. "The second game I would really like to see an improvement there and put the ball in a position where receivers can make a catch and make plays."
Floyd and the Bulls have another difficult test 7 p.m. Friday at Cincinnati. The Bearcats (7-3) have won two in a row, are 5-1 at home and have held opponents to 17 points or less five times this season. Floyd will go up against defense that has 23 sacks and 11 interceptions, but the Bulls are confident in their signal-caller because of his makeup.
"He's a pretty smart guy and makes quick decisions," offensive coordinator Todd Fitch said. "He's able to process information fast and that's the whole key to quarterbacking."
Floyd arrived at USF as an early enrollee in 2011 after becoming an honor roll student at Milton (Fla.) High School. He comes from a military family and moved from California when he was two after his father, who was in the Air Force, was transferred to Florida.
Floyd wound up spending most of his years in Milton, a small town that's been very supportive of his path to becoming USF's starting quarterback. Floyd gave fans back home plenty to cheer about in high school when he posted 4,988 yards passing, 37 passing TDs and 10 rushing TDs during his career.
"It's a great little country Southern town. They're real faithful people," Floyd said. "It's great to have a hometown that's fully behind you like that."
Durden Getting Extra Work at Corner
Head coach Skip Holtz is looking for answers in the secondary and has given Kenneth Durden extra reps at corner this week in practice.
"We're not where we need to be in the secondary and there needs to be some position battles going on there with some of the uncontested deep balls we gave up (against Miami). Durden is in the mix," Holtz said.
Durden, a redshirt freshman, has seen action in five games this season and played most of the second half against the Hurricanes.
"I was shocked I was playing that early in the game, but I just had to be ready," he said.
Durden was pleased with his performance, aside from giving up a deep ball, and he's excited about the possibility of earning a start on Friday.
"I'm just ready to do what I have to do," he said.
Durden definitely has the potential. The Valdosta, Ga., native was an all-state selection after posting eight interceptions, 17 pass breakups and 78 tackles in three years at Lowndes High School.