Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

USF Bulls try to decide on next quarterback

TAMPA — The ongoing battle for USF's quarterback nod Saturday at Miami could be simple coaching gamesmanship as much as anything. The uncertainty keeps pressure and attention off the eventual starter and forces the Hurricanes to prepare for both possibilities this week.

It's likely that coach Skip Holtz will announce his starter Saturday — maybe minutes before kickoff. That's what Holtz did before USF's bowl win against Clemson in 2010, and against Louisville last season, going so far as to have both quarterbacks in the huddle on the sideline before sending out the starter.

Whether it's 6-foot-1 redshirt freshman Matt Floyd stepping in for injured senior B.J. Daniels, or 6-5 junior Bobby Eveld, the Bulls will be taking their first steps toward finding a starter for next season. Floyd won the backup job in preseason but has played sparingly; Eveld has two career starts and has played against Miami in each of the past two seasons but is on course to redshirt, so playing him gives up a future year of eligibility. That's something he and Holtz are willing to do if it's in the team's best interests.

"Right now, we have two young players that each have strengths," Holtz said Tuesday with an elusiveness normally reserved for Daniels. "We're going to let it roll … until a clear-cut starter is defined. Right now, that really hasn't been the case. They're both doing an excellent job. They're both completing about 63 percent of their passes. You're waiting for, statistically, one of them to just take it, but right now, it's a great, competitive battle."

Holtz has portrayed the competition as Eveld's "leadership and command of the huddle" vs. Floyd's "feet and the elusiveness that he brings to the quarterback position," two assets prevalent in Daniels, whose season ended in the win against Connecticut when he broke a bone at the base of his left leg.

"That, probably, ultimately, is the decision we're going to have to make," said Holtz, whose official depth chart lists the QBs as Eveld "or" Floyd, the edge there perhaps as simple as an alphabetical one.

Neither has had many positive statistics over the past two seasons; Eveld had one touchdown against four interceptions last season, while Floyd has passed for 22 yards on 10 attempts this season. Coming in for one play against Florida State in late September when Daniels needed a quick breather after a hard hit, Floyd was sacked and his fumble was recovered and returned for a crucial touchdown; in his first play stepping in for Daniels against UConn, Floyd fumbled the snap, though tight end Jeff Hawkins recovered for USF. The QB-center exchange was precarious enough that USF ran out its "victory" formation with Floyd in shotgun.

"That's something you have to put into the equation," Holtz said Sunday. "(Eveld) definitely has more game experience in his hip pocket than Matt does, and it's something you're a little bit concerned about, when you watch Matt go in last week and the very first play he's under center, we fumble the ball. … That will definitely be something you have to lean towards Bobby on, with game experience."

Asked for what edges Floyd would bring to the position, offensive coordinator Todd Fitch pointed to the repetitions he has gotten as the top backup and some of his mechanics as a passer.

"(Floyd) has gotten a little more reps this fall … he's a little bit more mobile, gets the ball out a little quicker," Fitch said. "He's a little more athletic, has a very good knack of getting the ball out on time, bang-bang-bang. I think the mobility and the ability to get the ball out a hair quicker is where I see his edge. He can probably improvise, make some plays on his own more so than Bobby can, athletically."

There's a history of USF redshirt freshman quarterbacks inheriting the starting job from an injured senior. Daniels stepped in when Matt Grothe injured his knee in 2009, just as Grothe took over for Pat Julmiste in 2006 and never gave the job up.

Coaches and players have generally addressed the position as up for grabs in interviews this week, though there was one glaring exception. Asked about USF football without Daniels, senior linebacker Sam Barrington had this to say: "It's very different. I try to get in Matt Floyd's ear, just tell him he's ready, he's going to do a great job. It's his time now."

USF Bulls try to decide on next quarterback 11/13/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 13, 2012 10:59pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Bucs journal: Dirk Koetter says Vernon Hargreaves needs to improve


    TAMPA — The Bucs now rank 31st in the NFL in pass defense, allowing 301 yards per game in their 2-3 start, and coach Dirk Koetter was asked Monday how concerned he is with the play of second-year CB Vernon Hargreaves.

    Ryan Fitzpatrick, throwing an incompletion under pressure after replacing injured Jameis Winston against the Cardinals,  would start this Sunday in Buffalo if Winston’s shoulder is still bothering him.
  2. Backhand shot makes Nikita Kucherov's offense even more dangerous

    Lightning Strikes

    DETROIT — Nikita Kucherov is on a historic streak, just the fourth player in the last 30 years to score a goal in each of his first six games.

    Nikita Kucherov’s backhand shot adds to his strong scoring.
  3. Rick Pitino officially fired by Louisville amid federal corruption probe


    In an expected move, the University of Louisville Athletic Association's Board of Directors on Monday voted unanimously to fire men's basketball coach Rick Pitino. The decision came 19 days after Louisville acknowledged that its men's basketball program was being investigated as part of a federal corruption probe and …

    In this Oct. 20, 2016, file photo, Louisville head basketball coach Rick Pitino reacts to a question during a press conference in Louisville, Ky. Louisville's Athletic Association on Monday officially fired Pitino, nearly three weeks after the school acknowledged that its men's basketball program is being investigated as part of a federal corruption probe. [AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, File]
  4. Deception key to Nikita Kucherov's hot start


    Nikita Kucherov is on a historic streak, the first player in Lightning history to score a goal in each of the first five games.

    Nikita Kucherov is the first player in Lightning history to score a goal in each of the first five games.
  5. Luke Witkowski living 'lifelong dream' with Red Wings


    Defenseman Luke Witkowski couldn't help but take a peek at the Lightning's morning skate Monday at the brand-new Little Caesar's Arena.

    Luke Witkowski (28) played his first 55 NHL games with the Lightning, until signing a two-year $1.5 million deal with Detroit in the summer.