Willie Taggart out at FSU: Three things that sealed his fate
Usually, it’s a mix of factors that doom a coaching staff. It’s hardly one thing and it’s never easy to identify the full list. In the case of Willie Taggart, who was fired by Florida State on Sunday, things were nuanced. Below, Rivals.com outlines three of the many reasons things didn’t work out between Taggart and the Seminoles.
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1. NOT FIXING A BROKEN OFFENSIVE LINE
Taggart inherited a troublesome offensive line from previous head coach Jimbo Fisher, but the leaks up front became massive holes under Taggart’s watch. He didn’t cause the problems, sure, but he was hired with the expectation that he’d find a way to fix them … or show progress toward doing so. That never happened. Instead, FSU allowed 36 sacks a year ago and has already allowed 35 this season. The Noles have a talented stable of running backs that have failed to produce up to its potential because of a thin offensive line, which has spent the last two seasons being wildly inconsistent at best. Taggart signed five offensive linemen in last year’s class, but that did little to fix the issue, as only one of them (Dontae Lucas) was ranked higher than three stars.
2. QUARTERBACK RECRUITING
In the end, the offensive line was Taggart’s biggest issue, but his quarterback recruiting, or lack thereof, will be the most publicized. Taggart never landed a scholarship quarterback on signing day, leaving him with extremely limited options at the position. The death blow on this front came last cycle, when FSU lost longtime quarterback pledge Sam Howell to 68-year-old Mack Brown and North Carolina down the stretch. Howell immediately became the Tar Heels’ starter while Taggart was left to manage a stable of more experienced but wildly inconsistent quarterbacks, led by James Blackman and Wisconsin transfer Alex Hornibrook. Quarterback recruiting was a bit of an issue before Taggart’s arrival, but he certainly did nothing to help it.
3. NOT RECRUITING WELL IN SOUTH FLORIDA
Florida State’s last two recruiting classes included just five players from Broward and Dade counties. And while five-star defensive back Akeem Dent was a win in Palm Beach county, Taggart’s lack of success in Broward and Dade was noticeable from the jump. Of the five players he landed from the two hyper-fertile counties, just three were ranked as four-stars. Taggart had more success in other areas of the Sunshine State, but it’s hard to become a premier program without making a significant mark in the most talent-rich regions. The new coaching staff will need to place more emphasis on Broward and Dade, which have been neglected to a certain extent.