By TOM ZEBOLD
USF Senior Writer
VERO BEACH – Head coach Willie Taggart addressed the hottest topic at USF camp on Sunday and said what you’d expect after the first week of the four-man competition for the starting quarterback spot.
Taggart said freshman Mike White made some strides Saturday – USF’s first day in Vero Beach – but acknowledged veterans Bobby Eveld and Matt Floyd are the early frontrunners for the job based on their understanding of the Bulls’ new pro-style offense.
"You can tell that Bobby and Matt have been exposed to the offense,” Taggart said. “They understand what we're doing a lot better than Mike and Steven (Bench). But when Steven and Mike know exactly what to do, you can see why they can be really effective. It's just a matter of learning the system and how fast they can learn the system and not be afraid to make mistakes here early.”
Taggart’s assessment comes with little surprise considering Eveld, a senior, and Floyd, a sophomore, have been working in USF’s new system since the spring. Newcomers White and Bench, a sophomore transfer from Penn State, worked with only the rookies the first three days of fall practice before getting extensive work with the team as the week progressed.
“They’re not far behind. They just need to know when things are going fast they have to understand what they’re doing,” Taggart said
Ciabatti Now on Scholarship
The Bulls have given Mattias Ciabatti a big boost during his battle for the Bulls’ starting punter position. The sophomore walk-on has been put on scholarship while he continues to impress Taggart with his production in camp.
"We didn't give it to him. He earned it," Taggart said. "He's been doing a really good job. He came out and really launched a couple of balls the other day. I think he's going to be very significant in our football team this year."
Ciabatti, a former star at Hillsborough High School, redshirted in 2011 and picked up some game experience last fall when he punted for 43 yards in USF’s season opener against Chattanooga.
Jozwiak Held Out
Thor Jozwiak is absent from camp in Vero Beach for a medical reason but Taggart said he’s hopeful the sophomore guard will be back soon.
"Thor has some skips in his heartbeat. We wanted to get that tested. Hopefully we can get him back out out here (soon)," Taggart told Tampa Bay Times beat reporter Greg Auman. "So far, so good. We're planning on him coming, hopefully he can get here tomorrow. We want the doctors to do all the tests and make sure he's healthy before he comes back out here."
Jozwiak is battling for a starting spot a season after starting five of his nine games as a redshirt freshman.
Bulls Get to Work Quickly
The Bulls arrived at Vero Beach Sports Village on Saturday and wasted little time getting to work at the team’s new home until Saturday, Aug. 17.
“We drove two and a half hours, got off the bus and went to practice,” Taggart said. “We planned on doing it that way just to see how they respond, and our guys responded really well.”