Willie Taggart was in trouble. His team had lost three out of four, and his freshman quarterback was playing like a freshman, and he didn’t need anyone to tell him that his seat was growing warmer.
It didn’t matter that one of the losses had been to FSU from the ACC, and one of them to Maryland from the Big 10. The third loss had been a 17-10 loss to a strong Memphis team. USF had lost for years, through Skip Holtz and now Taggart, and the fans were growing restless.
And then it happened.
Six wins in seven weeks. Syracuse. UConn. SMU. Temple. Cincinnati. Rival UCF.
Suddenly, a program was reborn. Instead of looking young, the Bulls looked fresh. Instead of looking like tomorrow’s team, the Bulls looked like today’s. It culminated in the team’s first bowl trip (a 45-35 loss to Western Kentucky in the Miami Beach Bowl) in five years.
Let’s face it. The Bulls are one of several AAC teams to have new life. There are Memphis and Temple and Houston and Navy. But USF, with Quinton Flowers returning at quarterback, with Marlon Mack at running back, with Rodney Adams at receiver, seems ready to join the fray.
And Taggart? He has a new contract extension. He’s got a chance to watch his youngsters grow.
Next year won’t be easy. The Bulls travel to Memphis and Temple and Cincinnati. FSU and Navy come to Tampa.
But the Bulls have their legs now. They have an identity.
Sadly, they have to wait nine months to play.