Willie Taggart surprised USF with 4:30 a.m. scrimmage

By Chip Patterson | Staff Writer

USF coach Willie Taggart woke up his team for a surprise 4:30 a.m. scrimmage on Wednesday. (USATSI)
USF coach Willie Taggart woke up his team for a surprise 4:30 a.m. scrimmage on Wednesday. (USATSI)

South Florida coach Willie Taggart tore through the Vero Beach Sports Village blaring music, beeping horns, banging on windows and alerting the Bulls that it was time to wake up for a scrimmage.

The was at 3 a.m. Wednesday morning.

Taggart, a former player under Jack Harbaugh and longtime colleague of his sons, has been telling his team that they "have to be comfortable being uncomfortable." It was the same message Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh gave the team during a visit last week, and Taggart put it into action with a surprise scrimmage at 4:30 a.m. Wednesday morning.

"I woke up startled like it was a tornado. I was like, 'What's going on?'" senior defensive end Julius Forte said. "You're just hitting that good sleep where you're dosing off and having good dreams. You might have Halle Berry or somebody knocking at your door but when you see coach [Marquel] Blackwell at the door you're like, 'Hey, you're not Halle Berry!'"

The Bulls responded with a physical showing in the three-hour early-morning scrimmage. Taggart rewarded the team with a relaxing afternoon trip to the beach.

"We get to play under the lights. I guess that's the cool thing about it," senior safety Mark Joyce said. "I practiced at midnight in high school but never got ready for one at 3 in the morning."

Clearly, the 2013 USF Bulls are ready to hop on the bus with Coach T.

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