The USF Bulls will have to prove that former coach Willie Taggart didn’t take his edge with him in this year’s Birmingham Bowl.
Taggart, the primary play-caller for the Bulls, took the head coaching job at Oregon on Wednesday.
That leaves the Bulls playing against SEC opponent South Carolina, where head coach Will Muschamp is respected for his defensive prowess. Instead of Taggart, the team will play under interim coach T.J. Weist.
USF will still have offensive firepower with quarterback Quinton Flowers, the American Conference Player of the Year, and Marlon Mack. Still, it doesn’t help a team to lose its play-caller.
South Carolina ranked only 62nd in the nation in total defense in Muschamp’s first year. USF’s offense was ranked 10th in the nation. However, the Bulls’ defense ranked just No. 120. South Carolina was ranked No. 117 in offense.
For the Bulls, the game is a chance to show that success didn’t depart with Taggart. It’s a chance for Weist to officially throw his name in the hat. It’s a chance to compete with the big, bad SEC (even against a 6-6 team). It’s a chance for more one-play drives. It’s a chance to show that there is a bit of defense on this team. It’s a chance for Flowers and Mack and Rodney Adams to complete their highlight tapes. It’s a chance to remind Taggart what he’s leaving behind.
In other words, it’s another chance to play.