By Ryan Adams

The USF Bulls get ready to kick off the second half of the 2014 season with a new battle. Head coach Willie Taggart has stressed all week since the 28-17 loss to East Carolina on Saturday night that the biggest battle they’ve faced the last couple weeks has been between the ears. Mental fatigue is what the players are calling it and it seems to be the reason for playing nearly lights out against back to back ranked teams in Wisconsin and East Carolina in the first half of both games but doing a complete 180 in the second half, inevitably losing both games.

“We start off the first half really well and that’s always good to start off with a bang,” quarterback Mike White said Tuesday. “But we’ve gotta be able to finish. We’ve gotta be mentally prepared.”

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Coach Taggart seemed to agree with his quarterback when asked about his team’s mental toughness.

“When things go bad, don’t look for other things bad to happen,” Taggart said. “Don’t start looking the other way. That’s something we gotta learn to get out of.”

Defensive coordinator, Chuck Bresnahan, takes it to heart when a close game at the half slips through the Bulls fingers in the second half.

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“I kinda take it personally that we don’t get them ready for the execution of the second half,” Bresnahan said Wednesday during practice. “From a coaching stand point we gotta make sure that from the sideline we can take it to the field.”

Tulsa is up next for the Bulls who continue AAC play. It will be the first ever meeting between USF and the Golden Hurricanes who enter Saturday’s game with a 1-5 record, something senior defensive lineman Elkino Watson isn’t taking lightly.

“Tulsa is a team getting better every day,” said Watson. “The more you watch that film the more you see those guys improving all around.”

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Kick off Saturday is set for 12:00 PM from H.A. Chapman Stadium in Tulsa, Oklahoma.