Already under scrutiny from a poor opening season in 2018, FSU coach Willie Taggart and his staff are not doing themselves any favors in the recruiting battles. This after the Seminoles failed to garner any of the top targeted high school quarterbacks to come play for them starting in 2019.
The final strike came on Wednesday morning’s second “National Signing Day,” when New Orleans four star high school recruit Lance LeGendre spurned Florida State. Instead, the former 4A Louisiana star chose to go to the University of Maryland, where will join former Alabama offensive coordinator Mike Locksley.
— Wayne McGahee III (@WayneMcGaheeIII) February 6, 2019
There was almost an air of desperation over the last 24 to 48 hours for FSU and its fans as it relates to the quarterback position.
As we wrote on Tuesday night, LeGendre was the last hope for Florida State after two other high school stars had said no. Sam Howell of North Carolina had already de-committed to FSU and chose to stay home to go the Tar Heels. And then, on Monday night, John Rhys-Plumlee of Mississippi chose to stay in-state, as well, with Ole Miss.
This means that Florida State will for now, unless they come up with a “rabbit out of the hat” Juco player or some other transfer, go into the fall with only James Blackman, as a scholarship quarterback.
FSU fans and alumni were hoping that either Rhys-Plumlee or LeGendre would at the last minute choose the Seminoles, because of the dismissal of Deondre Francois over the weekend. Francois was involved in another domestic violence controversy with his estranged girlfriend and Taggart kicked him off the team Sunday morning.
Now we wait to see, what Taggart has to say later on Wednesday, but also what new offensive coordinator Kendal Briles can help do to have better competition for the fall?
And probably most importantly, get someone available in the event that something happens injury-wise, etc. to Blackman.
Why hasn’t Florida State named their new coach?
Why hasn’t Florida State announced the hire of a new head football coach? It is a legitimate question to ask as Conference Championship Weekend approaches.
The early signing period comes closer, and the Seminoles know they need to nail down recruits to give themselves a fighting chance in 2020 and, more realistically, 2021. The more this head coaching search drags out – now that we are in December – the worse it looks for Florida State.
Moreover, the whole point (or at least the main point) of firing Willie Taggart a few weeks before the end of the regular season was precisely to get a head start on the head coaching search and find the right man for the right price in a precarious time for Seminole football.
If Florida State doesn’t have a coach firmly secured by Sunday morning – before the College Football Playoff teams and New Year’s Six bowl assignments are announced – it will be buried in the news cycle. Announcing a hire late Sunday night or early Monday morning won’t create the same splash and will certainly come across as being “late” in a meaningful sense. FSU won’t get the maximum amount of attention and publicity it needs.
The clock really is ticking. Yes, it is better to be late than to settle for a terrible hire. Florida State (and any other school in its position) is better served by getting the right coach late in a carousel cycle than to be stuck with the wrong man and making the hire “on time,” before Sunday afternoon.
We can all understand the bigger picture, though: Florida State, a program of great stature and significance, should be able to get a good hire AND be on time. The Seminoles ought to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time.
The conventional wisdom – or at least, one of several prevailing thoughts if there isn’t majority agreement on this point – is that Florida State will wait until after Saturday’s AAC Championship Game between Cincinnati and Memphis to announce the hire of Memphis coach Mike Norvell.
If this IS in fact the case (we’ll see, one way or the other), Florida State will have gotten one of the better options in the coaching carousel. Norvell’s (above) name has been thrown about for a long time at Power Five schools. His arrival would certainly offer the promise of an elite offense (and strong quarterback development) returning to Tallahassee.
It wouldn’t be a home-run, but it would be viewed as a reasonably good hire under complicated circumstances, a move which could certainly work if Norvell plays his cards right.
The bigger question – and potential problem – for FSU is if a Norvell deal has NOT been lined up, and if the program is scrambling. Then we’re in a different landscape with a lot more uncertainty.
We talk about this larger topic at this time every year: In a coaching search, there is always a prime target. If that target is secured (in this case Norvell), great.
If not, are you – as an athletic director – ready with your Plan B? Is Dave Coburn, armed with his search firm, ready?
We’re about to find out if FSU has its Plan A firmly secured, or if the school has its Plan B ready to go before the College Football Playoff announcement.
Or, if FSU has botched this hire completely by letting others who started later get coaches out from under them.
Florida-FSU wouldn’t be what it is without Bowden and Spurrier
It isn’t a crime against humanity. It isn’t the foremost outrage to be found in the world, in North America in the United States, in college athletics, in college football, or even in the state of Florida.
There are much bigger problems, many more severe outrages, to be found in the world… but this IS a crime: An ESPN “30 for 30” film on the Bobby Bowden-Steve Spurrier rivalry hasn’t been made.
I don’t have a problem with the fact that two 30 for 30 movies on the Miami Hurricanes were made. Miami football was a remarkable story with electric characters who lived unforgettable lives as collegiate athletes. The U did require two parts. That’s perfectly fine. I enjoyed the first one more than the second, but I’m glad both parts were made, and I am happy both parts exist as part of the treasure trove of documentary films on college football.
However, if The U gained two separate films on the “30 for 30” documentary franchise, “how in the Sam Hill” does the Bowden-Spurrier rivalry not have ONE film?
Bowden and Spurrier were obviously great coaches. They were iconic figures. They were also the ultimate pillars, the single most important figures in the football histories of their respective schools.
There was no Florida State football – not in any consequential sense, at any rate – before Bobby Bowden.
Similarly, Florida owned a significant national presence only to the extent that Steve Spurrier was in some way involved. His Heisman Trophy season in 1966, followed by his ascent to UF head coach, made Florida football what it was
Bowden and Spurrier weren’t great coaches who were mere drops in the ocean, small particles of a much larger rivalry with many epic chapters before and after. No, they WERE the rivalry between Florida and Florida State. We are still waiting for another coaching clash to come remotely close to that.
Urban Meyer – the other coaching giant in the history of FSU-UF football – didn’t have Bowden at his best when he coached the Gators. Jimbo Fisher didn’t have a worthy counterpart earlier this decade. Florida State will try to hire a coach who can match wits with Dan Mullen and create something special, but nothing is guaranteed.
This magnifies what Bowden and Spurrier brought to Noles-Gators, and to college football… but it doesn’t begin to tell the whole story.
Whether you believe either coach’s outward persona – Bobby’s aw-shucks, dadgummit veneer or Spurrier’s unvarnished competitive cockiness – is beside the point. These two men carried themselves in unique ways.
Bowden was the ultimate charmer – think “Bear Bryant but with sunshine and giggles” – while Spurrier was the resentful grudge-holding score-settler whose long memory fueled his ambitions and made him the great coach he was.
Florida State-Florida wasn’t just hugely significant at its height in the 1990s; it was colorful, emotional, original, fresh, and endlessly honest. The hatred was naked, not hidden; outwardly expressed, not repressed.
FSU-UF didn’t merely matter a great deal; it was the rivalry which, in its heyday, was so refreshingly free of pretense or manufactured controversy. The Noles and Gators arrived at – and built – their hatred honestly, not through cheap or artificial avenues or devices.
If Woody Hayes and Bo Schembechler had the Ten-Year War at Ohio State and Michigan from 1969 through 1978, Bowden and Spurrier had the Twelve-Year War from 1990 through 2001.
The U should have two “30 for 30s.”
That isn’t the problem.
Bobby Bowden and Steve Spurrier not having one, at the end of 2019?
It’s a crime… not the worst crime, but a crime nonetheless.
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