Florida State’s newest defensive analyst Jim Leavitt wasted no time stepping into his new role, as he was seen at practice the morning after his job was announced. This is good news for the seminole’s defense as they are just a couple of days away from facing their biggest challenge of the season thus far against conference opponent, Virginia.
First look at Jim Leavitt, @FSUFootball’s new senior defensive analyst, at practice on Thursday morning. Willie Taggart worked with Leavitt at Oregon, and this morning called Leavitt “a great addition to our football staff.” pic.twitter.com/oP1TxiQXWX
— Tim Linafelt / FSU (@Tim_Linafelt) September 12, 2019
FSU head coach Willie Taggart spoke to the media Thursday morning about the new addition to his staff and what that is going to mean for the FSU football team.
He reinforced multiple times that this change was going to have an immediate positive effect on the team, and the defensive staff is fully behind the choice.
“I think it’s a great addition to our football staff to get someone of that quality and that experience to be in that defensive role… someone that coach Barnett and the other defensive coaches can lean on…His knowledge of defense and understanding defense and his experience by itself is going to help ” He added, “I talked to coach Barnett and told him my thinking… and he was excited it would help our football team. Whenever we can help our football team and help ourselves get better, then we’re going to try to do that.”
Taggart initially tried to get Leavitt on staff before the season after Oregon coach Mario Cristobal decided to dismiss Leavitt after his two seasons in Eugene. Leavitt did get a handsome buyout that was contingent on whether he coaches and in what role in 2019 and 2020.
Though it never panned out earlier this year, Taggart said that now was the “right timing.” When asked how he reached back out to Leavitt he simply said, “It’s something we’d talked about before and I picked up the phone and called and [Leavitt] said ‘Absolutely.’”
It couldn’t be come at a better time for Taggart, whose team allowed 80 points and more than 1,000 yards combined only two games into the season. To say he’s in the “hot seat” in Tallahassee would be an understatement. And it’s only going to get hotter as they face head into their first conference game of the season.
Taggart is well aware of how much is a stake in the next couple of weeks, starting this weekend. But, he’s now got a proven defensive force on staff who could begin to tighten up some of FSU’s loose ends on defense before Saturday.
“He’s here, and Virginias here, and they’re a really good football team. We got our hands full so we’ve got to get ready for them.”