By Trevor DeGroot

TAMPA,FL — It’s official. USF has their starting quarterback for the start of the 2014 season, as sophomore Mike White will lead the Bulls offense. Although it didn’t come easy.

Head coach Willie Taggart said Stephen Bench made it a tough competition.

“Mike has done a great job of running our offense throughout spring and throughout training camp,” Coach Taggart said. “Stephen really made it hard for that decision. But I think all four of them have made tremendous progress throughout training camp. But I’m real excited with where we’re at. Mike’s our quarterback, I think our team is ready to get behind him and go.”

The USF coaching staff made the decision in a team meeting, going around the room and weighing the pluses and minuses of each player. In their eyes, White is the right man to lead the offense and the team.

“Now that he’s the quarterback I think he’ll go and do the things that a quarterback is supposed to do from a leadership standpoint,” Coach Taggart explained. “Mike has all those qualities to be a great leader. Now the team knowing he’s our quarterback, they all can rally behind him and he can do his part of not only leading our offense, but our entire football team.”

White of course was excited for the opportunity, but understands his goals go far beyond being the starter.

“It’s pretty cool, obviously from that aspect of it, but I’m ready,” White expressed. “Obviously that’s not the end goal, the end goal is to win games and I’m up for the challenge.”

White took over midway through last season, showing some promise as a true freshman. Now nearly one year later, and a full offseason of work, he says he’s more comfortable and in a better position to succeed.

“In the mental aspect of it, I feel like I’ve matured. I feel like I’ve become a better leader,” White says. “I’m more positive with the guys. I feel like I have a place to kind of say stuff now. I’m not that freshman, that new guy who’s kind of feeling around and stuff.”


Another major announcement was made Monday evening. Head coach Willie Taggart confirmed that this year the USF Bulls are replacing the player’s names with “THE TEAM” on the back of their jerseys above the numbers.

According to Taggart, it is an effort to remind the team to stay unified and become a strong group.

“We’re going to represent the Bulls, not to say that they won’t come back at some time, but our football team is focusing on the team,” Taggart said.

“That’s where it needs to be and our guys have done a great job with that this entire offseason starting back in January. It’s all about the team and every decision we make is what’s best for our football team.”

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