By TOM ZEBOLD
USF Senior Writer
TAMPA – Head coach Willie Taggart is happy to see the bus is continuing to go in the right direction as USF begins its final week of spring practice.
Taggart looked back on last Saturday’s scrimmage – the second of spring – and gave the Bulls a good report on both sides of the ball. He was especially happy with an offensive unit that’s starting to click in the new system.
“It was really impressive to see offensively that we were making plays consistently,” Taggart said Tuesday morning. “The scrimmage before we were inconsistent and we made a lot more plays this past scrimmage.”
Taggart said senior quarterback Bobby Eveld's throws were much better than the first scrimmage while junior tight end Mike McFarland caught his eye with big catches. Taggart also singled out running back Michael Pierre as a player that’s making a great impression on the coaching staff. Pierre, a redshirt junior, and senior Marcus Shaw would be USF’s top two backs if Taggart had to start the season today.
“They’re getting better. You can see they’re starting to understand our offense a little better and that’s why we’re executing a little better,” he said.
The Bulls’ defense has looked sharp all spring and didn’t disappoint on Saturday. Taggart said junior defensive tackle Elkino Watson and the rest of the line continued their steady play while defensive end Aaron Lynch has been “really, really impressive.” Lynch, a sophomore, redshirted last season after transferring from Notre Dame.
“The kid can play football and has been having fun out there competing,” said Taggart of the player who was heavily recruited out of Island Coast High School in Cape Coral.
LB Garcia Tears ACL
Linebacker Ruben Garcia tore the ACL in his right knee during Saturday’s scrimmage but Taggart hasn’t ruled the junior out for all of next season just yet. The walk-on had been working as USF’s second middle linebacker this spring.
“I don’t know, we heal a little differently around here now. We’re not like the Average Joe. Doctors say eight months; it will probably take us six,” he said.
A Look Ahead
The Bulls will be back at the Frank Morsani Practice Complex on Thursday and Friday morning in preparation for this Saturday’s spring game at Raymond James Stadium. Action starts at 5 p.m. and the traditional game format features four 15-minute quarters. Admission is free.