When Willie Taggart took over the football program for the South Florida Bulls, there was plenty of reason for optimism. The coach’s high-energy style had rejuvenated the fan base and players were excited to get after it in 2013. They also had some high-profile transfer players, like Aaron Lynch on the defensive line, who were expected to provide a major spark to the team as they attempted to make some waves in the AAC in 2013.
But that optimism went down in flames quickly when the Bulls were blown out by FCS McNeese State in the season opener 53-21. It hasn’t gotten much better since then, either, with the team’s only two wins of the year coming in games where they didn’t score an offensive touchdown. They needed phenomenal efforts out of their defense, including returning a couple of turnovers for touchdowns, to break into the win column. The offense, with injuries to Marcus Shaw and starting three different quarterbacks, has been dreadful and the defense, outside of the two wins, is getting pushed around by just about everyone.
It has been a colossal disappointment considering the booming energy that Taggart brought to the program this summer. He needs to start focusing on getting something positive going in the final weeks of the season to try and build some momentum heading into 2014 by turning to some freshmen standouts to lead the way. Can Mike White hold down the quarterback position and become a leader on offense? Can Darius Tice step up and fill Shaw’s shoes when he moves on next season? Is Nigel Harris a future leader on defense at linebacker?
With their fate sealed in 2013, Taggart needs to recapture some of that energy that USF had at the beginning of the year by getting the fan base excited about the future talent of the Bulls. Are these young standouts ready to become stars next season?