At just 41 years of age Willie Taggart has been given the reins to one of the blue-chip programs of college football, Florida State University, and March 21st marks the first time that Taggart can take the field with his players and get out there for a practice. It has been a meteoric rise for Taggart, a native of Bradenton, Florida, spent the previous season at the University of Oregon but was lured back home to coach the Seminoles due to the opening left by Jimbo Fisher bolting for a massive contract at Texas A&M. Previously to that, Taggart helped build the University of South Florida into a respected program and in his last season with the Bulls led the team to a 10-2 record including a conference title. This season will be the largest spotlight Taggart has ever coached under but he is known as a fierce competitor and the roster he was bequeathed is still one of the more talented in the country. Florida State fans are known for their high expectations, and Willie Taggart and this Seminoles team will need to come out to a hot start today at practice if they want to live up to those expectations.
While we won’t likely learn too much from the team’s first practice it is still going to be a welcome sight for FSU fans to see Taggart conducting drills in the Seminoles gold & garnet colors. Last year FSU underperformed, in large part due to injuries at key positions such as Quarterback, but perhaps hearing a new voice leading the team will begin to motivate the team to bounce back in the 2018 season. Every practice will need to count for the Seminoles as they actually open up next season with a matchup against familiar ACC foe Virginia Tech. While the game against Virginia Tech will be at home, FSU will take to the road to take on Syracuse and then Louisville, both respectable programs that could pull off an upset if FSU is not prepared.
The opening practice surely won’t make or break the Florida State football program, but it is the symbolic opening of the Wille Taggart era. And while Taggart’s experienced success at USF and is heralded as an elite recruiter the simple fact remains that he has never been in charge of such a large program before, so the first day of practice will also be a chance for Taggart to shake the nerves off a bit.