The blue-collar shirt Willie Taggart wore on the first day of training camp carried a big message about the man and the program he was hired to lead. The USF head coach wanted his players to be ready to work and work harder than they ever have before.
Taggart understands that nothing is going to come easy for the 2013 Bulls. The team doesn’t have many playmakers on offense. There isn’t much experienced depth at quarterback, running back or in the secondary. There will likely be true freshmen contributing at most positions on both sides of the ball.
This is a team that will have to grind out some ugly victories. Fans that are expecting a wide-open offensive game with lots of scoring will have to look elsewhere for now. However, if you enjoy physical football based around strong play on the lines, ball control, special teams and field position, this is going to be a season to remember.
Last week USF suffered a pretty big loss when wide receiver D’Vario Montgomery decided to leave the team. His mother said he had been struggling with a decision whether to stay or go since Skip Holtz was fired. He wasn’t practicing much after tweaking his hamstring. Finally he decided to leave and Taggart didn’t stand in his way.
“I told him we want guys who want to be here,” Taggart said to the Tampa Bay Times.
Montgomery, a Class of 2012, was one of the top receivers in the state coming out of high school. He has talent. He can make plays and he’ll probably produce at his next school. However, talent will only get you so far with Taggart. He wants workers.
Off the record one of the players told me that the Vero Beach workouts were as tough and as hard as he had experienced in football.
“It was all about work and finishing the drills hard,” the player said. “We didn’t finish games last year and Coach T wants us to finish this year.”
To the blue-collar worker there’s nothing more satisfying than finishing the job. In 2012 the Bulls held second-half leads in six of their nine losses. They made plays but they couldn’t finish. They showed signs of greatness in the first half and signs of weakness in the second half. Taggart understands the 2013 Bulls might not be great but they will not be weak.
Maybe the AAC title and a BCS bowl are unrealistic expectations for USF this season. More than likely this team will have to grind and fight just to be bowl eligible. But for the next three months the Bulls will be clocking in on Saturday afternoons and they will not be expected to leave until the job is done.
Montgomery will likely be transferring to Iowa State. The terms of his release allowed him to go to one of five programs….The Bulls received a verbal commitment from Plant High School defensive back Mazzi Wilkins on Monday. Wilkins (6-0, 160) is the Bulls’ 15th commitment… Four-star wide receiver Ryshene Bronson, out of Dunbar High School in Fort Myers, has USF as his leader and even tweeted a photo about it…Another Bulls recruiting target, defensive back Deion Singleton, has left Godby High School in Tallahassee and moved to Pasco, Washington.