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Florida State Seminoles

Different week- 3 positive results for Miami FSU and USF

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Glenn Beil-USA TODAY Sports
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The final Saturday in October was exactly what Miami, FSU and USF all needed to keep their postseason aspirations alive.

And, it was a big reversal from just seven days ago, when all three programs took tough losses in various forms-the Canes and the Seminoles lost in heartbreaking last second fashion, while the Bulls were blown away at Navy.

Well, on this Saturday for the three, the closest game was the earliest one and involved the Hurricanes traveling to Pitt and squeaking out a 16-12 victory over the Panthers.

Coach Manny Diaz replaced starting quarterback N’kosi Perry with his starter earlier in the year, Jarren Williams and he led the go-ahead touchdown drive in the final minute for the win. Williams completed a 32 yard catch and run to KJ Osborn with :58 remaining for the eventual final margin.

The Canes defense then held Pitt on downs to get the ball back and run the clock out for Miami’s fourth win of the season. This evens their record to .500 for the stretch run.

By the way, You are about to read a similar theme for the end of the season coming up for the next two teams.

Both Florida State and South Florida had relatively easy games.

First in Tallahassee, rumors were swirling everywhere this past week that Noles boosters and athletic administration we’re huddling to discuss if embattled coach Willie Taggart can be fired/bought out of the remainder of his contract.

Yet, in the face of that, FSU stomped Syracuse.

In specific, outstanding running back, Cam Akers (above) stomped  Syracuse, as he finished with 144 yards and four touchdowns in the 35 – 17 victory. The win puts Florida State at 4 – 4 and calms some of the screams for tagger job at least for now.

Similar situation for the USF Bulls, where Charlie Strong in his third season is under fire, but his team more than responded for an easy win over conference foe East Carolina on the road.

It did not start out well for the Green and Gold, as ECU ran the opening kickoff of the game back a hundred yards for a touchdown and the early lead. However, the Bulls used a ground attack that produced over 300 yards rushing, including Jordan Cronkrite with 129 of them and two touchdowns and they built a 35 – 10 lead at the half and never looked back.

The win for the Bulls, like the Canes and the Noles, evens their record at 4 – 4 for the stretch run.

All in all, the fan bases of all three have to be smiling after at least for a Saturday.

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Florida State Seminoles

FSU RB Akers announced Saturday he’s turning pro

Florida Football Insiders

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Glenn Beil-USA TODAY Sports
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FSU running back Cam Akers has played his final game for the Noles. The talented junior running back announced on social media Saturday afternoon that he will not play in the upcoming Sun Bowl matchup with Arizona State. He will instead prepare starting now for the NFL Draft:

“These last three years have been incredible, and I am so appreciative that the FSU family welcomed a kid from Mississippi with open arms….. I have decided to enter the 2020 NFL draft and will not play in the Sun Bowl,” Akers post stated, in part.

Florida State was back on the practice field Saturday afternoon in Tallahassee after exam week concluded. Interim coach Odell Haggins is still overseeing the practice with newly hired head coach Mike Norvell out recruiting throughout the South.

Back to Akers, he came to the Seminoles of the highly-touted running back out of Clinton, MS, who ran for 8,000 yards in his career. However he suffered behind poor offensive line play each of the last two seasons, but still Acres finished 2019 with just over 1,100 yards rushing 14 TDs. A year ago those numbers were worse at just over 700 yards and six scores.

Originally recruited by Jimbo Fisher staff, Akers endured three offensive coordinators in three seasons, when new coach Willie Taggart took over for 2018 and hired Walt Bell for the 2018 campaign. Then Bell left to be the head coach at UMass after last season and Taggart hired Kendal Briles for this season.

The offense sputtered throughout the early season and Taggart was fired on November 3rd with three games remaining. Had Akers chosen to stay for Norvell, he’s already hired Kenny Dillingham (his former Memphis OC), which would have been a fourth coordinator.

It’s believed that Akers would likely be a possible second round pick, but he may slip to the third round or beyond because of the shaky productivity of FSU’s offense the last couple of years.

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Florida State Seminoles

Taggart’s FAU contract details released

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Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports
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Former FSU head coach Willie Taggart was officially introduced as Florida Atlantic University’s new head coach on Thursday afternoon. Along with the announcement, were the details to his new contract with the Owls.

According to USA Today and the Associated Press, Taggart is receiving $750,000 a year in base pay for five years with a $3 million buyout if Taggart leaves before December of 2022.

The Palm Beach Post broke down his full contract details that includes performance bonuses and perks. 

— Taggart will make $750,000 per year for five years. For comparison, FAU’s last head coach, Lane Kiffin, made a $950,000 base salary per year. Kiffin’s earnings went over $1 million when a home loan, given to him by FAU, was factored in.

— Taggart owes FAU $3 million if he leaves the school or is fired before Dec. 1, 2022. The buyout drops to $1 million if he leaves before Dec. 1, 2023 and $500,000 between Dec. 2, 2023-Dec. 31, 2024.

— Taggart will receive a $25,000 retention bonus every Jan. 15.

— Incentives for Taggart include $100,000 for making a New Year’s Six Bowl or a top-10 finish. Taggart earns $50,000 for a Top 25 finish or for being named the National Coach of the Year.

— Taggart receives $20,000 for making the Conference USA Championship Game and $40,000 for winning it. FAU has won two league titles in the past three years.

— Taggart earns an extra $30,000 for making a bowl game. Winning the national championship nets Taggart $500,000.

— Taggart’s buyout is offset by his base salary at FAU. FSU will save around $3 million on Taggart’s $18 million buyout.

In addition to his salary, the University is offering perks such as a car allowance, a membership at the Boca Raton Resort and Club, and the option for family to travel on team charter.

Taggart, who was fired in November, halfway into his second season at Florida State, will be replacing Lane Kiffin, who departed for Ole Miss after Saturday’s Conference USA championship game win over UAB.

The reason Florida State fans have to be so enthusiastic is the Taggart was reportedly owed over $17 million on his buyout with four years left on his deal. However, that amount has to be lessened some, if not significantly, since he’s going to immediately take another head coaching job. It’s still not clear how much FSU will still be paying Taggart.

Taggart went just 9-12 in his season and a half with the Noles, which included Florida State suffering their first losing season in over forty years in 2018, when they went 5 – 7. When 2019 began with a collapsing loss at home to Boise State and then a near loss-OT victory over UL-Monroe, it seemed the handwriting was on the wall.

The final blow in Tallahassee came when Taggart’s team looked lifeless and undisciplined in their 27-10 loss to ACC instate rival Miami Novemeber 2nd. He was dismissed the next afternoon.

Taggart came to FSU from Oregon, where he spent one year and went 7-5 before jumping, again, in December of 2017 to take the Noles job. He previously was the coach at USF for four seasons, where after starting 2-10 year one, he reversed that number in his final year (2016) to 10 – 2.

Now that his contract is signed, he’ll be fully a go to pick up recruiting in the state where he’s well known in from his previous tenures in state programs.

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