Even though we've seen Matt Floyd play, I don't think we have a really good idea of what we can expect from him as USF's starting quarterback. Yes, Floyd was dismal in his three games last year. He didn't make good reads, he dropped the ball a lot, and the offense could barely move. Still, how much confidence did anyone have in Floyd, and how much did he have in himself?
Think about how badly his 2012 season was handled by everyone involved. First, Floyd made a disastrous cameo against FSU. Todd Fitch admitted he didn't know Floyd was going in the game after B.J. Daniels had his bell rung. Then someone missed a block, Floyd got blindsided, lost the ball, and gave the Seminoles an easy touchdown. It was a coaching train wreck, but it was nothing compared to what happened to Floyd later in the year.
When Daniels broke his ankle against UConn, it looked like the Matt Floyd era would start against Miami. Instead, chasing a remote chance at bowl eligibility, and probably trying to save his job, Skip Holtz jerked Floyd around and put him through an impromptu two-week competition with Bobby Eveld, who was supposed to be redshirting. Then Eveld got the start, implying that Holtz thought so little of Floyd that he'd rather burn someone else's redshirt 10 games into the season than play him. What frame of mind could Floyd have been in when Eveld got knocked out and he was forced into action?
Matt Floyd needed a new coach as much as anyone on the team. After naming him the starter on Saturday, Willie Taggart talked him up on the American teleconference yesterday, praising his progress and his leadership ability and stressing that he was going to stick with Floyd as his starter. The team elected him a captain, reinforcing that praise. For the first time in his USF career, Floyd will be taking the field with a coach that believes in him. That alone won't make him a better player, but it sure can't hurt.
P.S. I always figured Skip started Eveld against Miami last year because he was safer. Less upside than Floyd, but also less risk. It would have been easy for Taggart to start Eveld this year for the same reason. Fortunately, Taggart seems to understand that a risk means there might also be a reward. It's a play-to-win, #DoSomething kind of move. That's very encouraging as far as restoring the attitude of the program. I doubt Taggart will ever say something like "I felt like this was a game we could be competitive in" the way Skip did after the Hurricanes demolished USF 40-9.