The tumultuous and at times bizarre off-season at Florida State continued that trend on Friday afternoon. That’s when FSU head coach Willie Taggart announced that he had fired his offensive line coach, Greg Frey, after only one season together in Tallahassee.
Taggart released a statement early Friday afternoon confirming that he had informed Frey Friday morning that he was out:
— Curt Weiler (@CurtMWeiler) February 15, 2019
The move won’t come as a huge surprise, because Florida State’s offensive line specifically, was a disaster for much of last season. A season in which the Noles finished 5 and 7 for their first year under .500 since 1977. And, the offensive line continually struggled to pick up the new system of former offensive coordinator Walt Bell, and even more glaring, be able to do simple things like pass block regularly for quarterback, Deondre Francois.
Frey being scapegoated on Friday, and that’s an appropriate way to describe it, wraps up what has been constant almost soap opera involving the coaching staff and more, since the end of the year.
First, Bell left in December to take the UMass head coaching job. Taggart eventually and controversially, replaced him with Kendal Briles a former Florida Atlantic and Baylor assistant. Briles is the son of Art Briles who was fired amidst multiple sexual assault allegations against his players over an extended period of time earlier this decade.
The soap opera continued, when Francois was accused a couple of weeks ago by his girlfriend on social media of threatening domestic violence against her. This was the second straight off season with Francois being accused of this. Taggart dismissed Francois the next day after the social media posts by the girlfriend. Francois, started all but one game last year for FSU, and his departure left a void on the field.
Then more bumbling, as the Noles were unable to secure a top-flight high school quarterback, as North Carolina High School prospect Sam Howell reneged on his verbal commitment to Florida State. This was probably in part, because Bell had left, and Howell chose to go to the UNC Tar Heels and stay home.
The Noles also missed out on the other two quarterback prospects they were hoping to land and went for the second consecutive season without signing a star quarterback in their recruiting classes under Taggart. That last part, by the way, is almost unheard of for a major college powerhouse program to not be able to get a quality high school quarterback to come to your school for two straight years.
At the moment the only scholarship quarterback that Taggart and Briles have is 2017 starter, James Blackman.
Back to Frey. He came to Florida State after one season at Michigan as an offensive line coach. The previous six years he was at Indiana as their offensive line coach, as well.
It had been a homecoming for Frey to be hired by Taggart and Florida State, as he was a lineman for the Seminoles in the early 1990s, including on the 1993 National Championship team.
It’s also curious that Frey was let go a week after the Seminoles Signing Day class was secured, which does include a couple of prominent offensive lineman on it.
Still, Taggart is in charge and scrambling or not, and soap opera or not, he’s got to try to have Florida State improved in a hurry in 2019.
Or, Taggart may very well be out of a job himself.
FSU and LSU announced two game neutral site series Tuesday
In an effort to continue to beef up their out-of-conference schedules, FSU announced on Tuesday that they will play newly-crowned National Champion, LSU in two neutral site games coming soon in 2022 and 2023.
The Seminoles made the announcement through social media and their website that they will be playing the “Bayou Bengals” first in New Orleans and then, in Orlando:
Noles vs. Tigers set for '22/'23!!!https://t.co/nfLwLGhXE3
— FSU Football (@FSUFootball) February 11, 2020
Both teams will be given the benefit of essentially a “home-away-from-home neutral-site game” on Labor Day weekend. LSU considers New Orleans to be their second home and just won the College Football Playoff National Championship game over Clemson there on January 12.
The first game with the Noles will be on Saturday night September 4th, 2022.
FSU will, then play “hosts” in Orlando against the Tigers the following year on Saturday night September 3rd. The Noles recently played a season-opening game with Ole Miss, whom they defeated, at Camping World Stadium in 2016.
New Seminoles head coach Mike Norvell had this to say in the school statement about adding the games coming soon,
“I’m excited about this series,” head coach Mike Norvell said. “Florida State has a rich tradition in Louisiana, the home of many former Seminoles including Warrick Dunn and Travis Minor, and all three of our national championship teams had at least one player from Louisiana. It continues to be an important area for us now. We added two players from Louisiana in our first signing class, and it will be great for them and other future Noles to be able to play back in their home state.
This series matches two of the iconic brands in college football, and I know our fans will have a great time in New Orleans and Orlando. I want to thank our administration for all their hard work on this and for continuing to pursue first-class experiences for our student-athletes.”
These will be the 10th and 11th times that Florida State and LSU will meet. The Noles hold a 7 – 2 advantage, including winning four straight games in the series. It is the first time the two schools will have played since 1991.
Further, Florida State is 9 – 2 in their last 11 games opening a season on a neutral field. The Seminoles were to have played Boise State in Jacksonville last Labor Day weekend, but the threat of Hurricane Dorian moved the game to Tallahasse.
That’s where the Broncos upset the Seminoles and sent coach Willie Taggart into a second year spiral that resulted in his firing in November.
The Noles are also 8 – 2 all-time in games at the Superdome with the most prominent one coming in the BCS Championship Game win over Virginia Tech in the 2000 Sugar Bowl.
Deion tells Dan Patrick he’d consider coaching Hurricanes
NFL Hall of Famer and former Seminoles All-American defensive back Deion Sanders is making the rounds for broadcast outlets at Super Bowl 54 in Miami,. And it’s not just his NFL Network duties that made some news on Tuesday. Rather, it’s an interview, where he expressed more desire for coaching college football and maybe, even in the city where he currently is working this week.
Sanders appeared on The Dan Patrick television – radio show Tuesday in advance of the 49ers and the Chiefs meeting for pro football’s title at Hard Rock stadium Sunday night.
— Dan Patrick Show (@dpshow) January 28, 2020
And, while most of the interview centered around the NFL and the Super Bowl match-up, Patrick naturally turned to Deion’s desire to apparently be a head coach in college football and maybe, as soon as next year.
This subject came up after Sanders was apparently under consideration to possibly be the new head coach at FSU, when they fired Willie Taggart in early November. The school and AD David Coburn did confirm that they had a serious formal discussion with “Prime Time” about building a staff, etc.
That’s when Patrick turn the questioning to Sanders’ son and what might test his loyalty to FSU and possibly, coaching at a hated-rival like the University of Miami.
“What if ‘The U’ called?” Patrick asked.
“You know what is so funny, cuz I saw that when I was watching you on television (earlier in the day when Patrick said he would ask Sanders about Miami). My son is a phenomenal quarterback. My youngest son. He has a plethora of offers. We’re going to visit ‘The U’ on Saturday,” Sanders said.
“But would you coach the U?,” Patrick quickly asked again.
“You know what. You never know,” Sanders replied leaving the door open, like most do.
“Are you a ‘package deal’ with your son,” asked Patrick?
“I’ve never been a package deal with any-body,” Sanders shot back, which drew laughter from the studio audience at Patrick’s Super Bowl show site.
Now, the Hurricanes have obviously floundered for much of the 2010s, including 2019 with first-year coach Manny Diaz struggling mightily down the stretch of his first season. Miami lost it’s final two games to finish 6 – 6, and then, were shutout humiliatingly by Louisiana Tech 14 – 0 in the Independence Bowl.
Miami has swapped offensive coordinators after Diaz fired Dan Enos after just his first season. The Canes have hired former Auburn and SMU play-caller Rhett Lashlee to replace him. And, they secured Houston dual threat transfer QB D’Eriq King for this season.
Sanders was a two-time All-American at Florida State (1987, ’88), and won the Jim Thorpe Award during his final season playing for the Seminoles in 1988. He was selected in the first round of the 1989 draft by the Atlanta Falcons and played in the NFL through the 2005 season.
His elite level of play earned him inductions into both the College Football Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Sanders has been analyst for the NFL Network for the past 10 years and clearly has the desire to try something else.