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disappointing 1/3 start that included losses

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    May 7, 2018 6:05 PM PDT

    TAMPA, Fla. Jeff Driskel Jersey . -- 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. Michael Johnson Jersey . -- Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson asked his players a simple question during Fridays morning shootaround: How many of them had ever been on a team 14 games over . Adam Jones Jersey . 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ARCADIA, Calif. -- Gloryzapper won the $100,000 LA Woman Stakes for fillies and mares by a half-length in a driving four-horse finish Sunday at Santa Anita.Ridden by Stewart Elliott, Gloryzapper ran 6 12 furlongs in 1:15.75 and paid $11.20, $5.60 and $3.80 at 9-2 odds.Wild At Heart returned $6.60 and $4.40, while Perfect Pic was another half-length back in third and paid $3.40 to show.Luminance, the even-money favorite trained by Bob Baffert, finished fourth.Trainer Phil DAmato said Gloryzapper might be pointed toward the $1 million Breeders Cup Filly & Mare Sprint next month at Santa Aniita. Pat Sims Jersey. Stewart put Gloryzapper into the race early and she fought everybody off, DAmato said. I love her in this scenario. When she has her head in front of the rest of the opposition, she love the fight. Passing horses, shes just OK, but she loves to be in the mix and fight them off.The victory, worth $60,000, increased Gloryzappers career earnings to $225,045, with four wins in eight career starts. She earned her first stakes win in the Grade 3 race. Cheap Nike NFL Jerseys Jerseys Wholesale Wholesale Jerseys 2019 Cheap Authentic Jerseys Cheap Jerseys 2018 Wholesale Jerseys 2020 China Jerseys ' ' '