It’s finally arrived. College football teams have begun to gather and hit the practice field aiming towards the start of the season at the end of this month.
And in Tallahassee, there is renewed optimism and enthusiasm for first year coach Willie Taggart.
We have well documented Taggart’s quick ascent to the Noles top spot, as it started with coaching his alma matter Western Kentucky, then returning USF to a nationally ranked bowl winning program and then, a single season in the Pac 12 at Oregon.
Now, the Noles, who floundered to a 6-6 regular season barely making a bowl game, hope Taggart can lead them back into ACC championship contention and beyond. Even if that’s not realistic for 2018, the belief is that they will be there next season for sure.
Taggart met with the media Sunday afternoon in advance of the Seminoles first practice for Monday and covered many subjects:
One hot topic is the quarterback position battle. That’s where last year’s true freshman starer James Blackman will be challenged by 2016 starter Deondre Francois. Francois was injured and lost for the season in the fourth quarter of FSU’s opening defeat against Alabama last September.
And the Noles have a third option to potentially go to in Bailey Hockman.
“They’re all going to have an opportunity. They all understand that,” Taggart said. “That starts now. … They know they’ve got to separate themselves.”
Taggart also told the media that receiver Nyqwan Murray and defensive tackle Marvin Wilson both with knee issues are not available to start practicing this week.
“Those guys will be limited. You won’t see them the first part of training camp, but I think as we get towards the end in training camp, you’ll see those guys out there practicing with us.”
Finally, in another example of Taggart understanding and embracing FSU’s tradition, he is bringing back for long time defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews.
Welcome back to the football staff, Coach Andrews! ?
— FSU Football (@FSUFootball) August 3, 2018
Andrews who coached numerous defensive All Americans in Tallahassee from 1984 through 2009, including two National Championship seasons, is beloved by a great many of the FSU alumni and fans.
Taggart glowed Sunday,
“It’s great to have someone like that, that’s been here. He’s seen it all and has a lot of knowledge of the game. He has a lot of knowledge of Florida State. I think he’s someone that not only myself, but our entire staff, can learn something from while he’s here.”
The Noles will all be trying to learn something about their new coaches and teammates. And it won’t be a “cream puff” in the opener with Virginia Tech on Labor Day night.
Time to get to work.
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