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  • 18 Jul
    导出博客文章TAMPA, Fla. -- Now that hes lifted South Florida out of the American Athletic
    Conference basement, Willie Taggart is aiming to take the Bulls all the way to
    the top of the league.The coach enters the fourth season of a reclamation
    project coming off an 8-5 finish that saw the team hit its stride after a
    disappointing 1/3 start that included losses to Florida State, Maryland and
    Memphis.And while contending for a conference championship has always been a
    goal, Taggart appears to have finally re-assembled the talent and depth
    necessary to realize the potential of a program generally regarded as one of the
    countrys fastest growing that plummeted after the Bulls climbed as high as No. 2
    in the nation in 2007.When you win and see how much fun it is, its contagious,
    Taggart said, adding he doesnt anticipate his players having much difficulty
    retaining the hunger that fueled last seasons turnaround.All you have to do is
    remind them of last year when no one gave us much of a chance, the coach said.
    Were going to embrace these (heightened) expectations because thats what these
    guys came here for. At the same time, this team hasnt accomplished anything.
    They understand that.The Bulls won seven of eight after stumbling out of the
    gate last fall, with two-time AAC rushing champion Marlon Mack and dual-threat
    quarterback Quinton Flowers helping the teams so-called Gulf Coast offense hit
    its stride during a four-game winning streak that saw USF outscore East
    Carolina, Temple, Cincinnati and UCF by a combined 175-70.While a loss to
    Western Kentucky in the Miami Beach Bowl didnt detract from the program taking a
    significant step forward, it was a humbling finish that kept players motivated
    in the offseason.The Bulls return 15 starters, including Mack, Flowers and
    leading receiver Rodney Adams. Linebackers Augie Sanchez and Deatrick Nichols
    are back, ready to lead an improved defense.Taggart said the entire team hasnt
    forgotten ending 2015 on a losing note and is driven to revive the euphoria of
    winning.What we were last year wasnt enough, the coach said. I love their
    attitude. Thats what we want.Some things to watch as USF tries to build on last
    seasons success:AWARD WATCH: Mack, Flowers, Adams, Sanchez and Nichols are among
    a school-record seven Bulls named to watch lists for national postseason awards.
    Mack led the AAC in rushing for the second straight season, finishing with 1,381
    yards and eight touchdowns; Flowers ran for 991 yards and 12 TDs, while also
    completing 59 percent of his passes and throwing for 22 touchdowns vs. eight
    interceptions, and Adams had 45 receptions for 822 yards and nine TDs.
    First-year co-offensive coordinator T.J. Weist said its important the players
    realize this is a news season. All those accolades mean nothing until we go out
    there and prove it.SPREAD `EM OUT: The Bulls switched to a fast-paced spread
    offense in 2015 and compiled some impressive statistics, particularly over the
    final month of the regular season, when they averaged 542 yards and 47 points
    per game. During that four-game stretch, the team averaged 313 yards on the
    ground and 230 passing. When were clicking nobody can stop us, Adams said. Thats
    our mindset.STAFF CHANGES: Weist and Darren Hiller have joined the Bulls as
    co-offensive coordinators and face the challenge of keeping the high-powered
    Gulf Coast attack humming. Taggart also brought in a new quarterback coach this
    offseason, hiring former NFL QB Shaun King to work with Flowers and the teams
    backups. Raymond Woodie shifts from linebackers coach to defensive coordinator
    following the departure of Tom Allen, who left for Indiana.STINGY DEFENSE: The
    Bulls adopted an attacking 4-2-5 scheme a year ago and ranked 13th nationally in
    tackles for loss (7.5 per game) and 14th interceptions with 17. Sanchez led the
    team in tackles with 117, while Nichols had a team-best four interceptions. With
    seven starters returning, Taggart expects the unit to be even better this
    year.KEEP IT GOING: Mack enters his junior year with 2,422 career yards, 309 shy
    of the school record. He averaged 6.6 yards per carry and had nine 100- yard
    games last season, including five in a row to end the season. Hes a fantastic
    running back, Taggart said, one of the best in the country if you ask me.
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    . According to a report from the Vancouver Province, the Lions are
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    The Celtics closed out their first preseason under Stevens on Wednesday night
    with a 101-97 victory over the Brooklyn Nets, who rested a lot of their lineup
    including former Celtics Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce.
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    a pass by Lionel Messi in the 33rd minute and added two more goals in the 47th
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    coach and an announced sellout crowd of 18,910 watched in dismay as the Canucks
    lost 7-4 to the New York Islanders on Monday night by squandering a 3-0 lead in
    the third period. FCS Playoffs First RoundThe Matchup -- North Carolina A&T
    (9-2) at Richmond (8-3)Kickoff -- 2 p.m. ET Saturday at Robins Stadium (8,700)
    in Richmond, VirginiaCoverage -- ESPN3Series -- First meetingPlayers to Watch --
    North Carolina A&T: RB Tarik Cohen (1,518 rushing yards, 339 receiving
    yards, 19 total TDs), DE Marquis Ragland (44 tackles, 9 TFL), LB Jeremy Taylor
    (75 tackles, 4 INTs, 8 PBU); Richmond: WR Brian Brown (67 receptions, 1,179
    yards, 9 TDs), DT Winston Craig (47 tackles, 7.5 sacks), LB Omar Howard (77
    tackles, 8 TFL)The Skinny -- While MEAC teams have lost 19 straight FCS playoff
    games, North Carolina A&Ts one win in four previous appearances was a huge
    one -- it beat No. 1 Tennessee State in 1999. The Aggies seek to recover from
    last weeks 42-21 loss at rival North Carolina Central, which ended their bid to
    win the MEAC championship and return to the Celebration Bowl. Cohen has 5,549
    career rushing yards, the conference record and more than any active player in
    the FCS. Backup quarterback Oluwafemi Bamiro, who pulled out a four-overtime win
    at FBS member Kent State in September, has started the last two games because
    Lamar Raynard has a chest injury. The Aggies have 37 sacks, and 10 different
    players have at least a pair (DE Angelo Keyes six are the
    high).ddddddddddddRichmond has faced adversity from 12 season-ending injuries,
    the latest suffered by No. 1 quarterback Kyle Lauletta (torn ACL). If backup
    David Broadus remains out for a third straight game, untested Jake Clise or Reid
    Chenault will step in for Lauletta. And if the play calling is scaled back,
    redshirt freshman running back Deontez Thompson (five 100-yard performances in
    last six games) will get a big workload. The Spiders defense is ranked third in
    the FCS in passing yards allowed (156.5 ypg), although the focus will be on
    stopping Cohen. The Spiders, one of six teams in this years field to have won an
    FCS title (2008), opened the season by beating Virginia.Up Next -- The winner
    plays at No. 7 seed North Dakota (9-2) in the second round Dec. 3.Prediction --
    With Richmond reeling from the loss of Lauletta, this wouldnt be a big upset if
    North Carolina A&T ended the MEACs playoff losing streak. The host Spiders
    will have to win with defense. Richmond 21-17. ' ' '