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New FSU coach Willie Taggart speaks during Independence Bowl broadcast

Florida Football Insiders

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USA Today Sports

With FSU concluding it’s season Wednesday afternoon in the Independence Bowl, new head Nole, Willie Taggart is on scene, but not coaching, in Shreveport, LA.

In fact, Taggart, who is not shy to post on social media, let the fans know earlier on Wednesday that he’s got the backing of some Seminoles all time greats. Including, this guy who was with him at the team hotel Wednesday morning:

Deion Sanders, as popular and recognizable a Nole that there currently is right now, also reportedly, spoke to the team prior to the game with Southern Miss.

Meanwhile, back to Taggart, he spoke with ESPN announcers Dave LaMont and Ahmad Brooks in the broadcast booth live during the second quarter. Some quick tidbits from the coach:

On what the last few weeks have been like:

“It’s been fun. Now that it’s the fourth time taking over a program, you’re used to it a little bit….the people in Tallahassee have been really excited…players are really excited and getting a lot of phone calls from coaches.”

That last part is a reference to Taggart trying to fill out his coaching staff from what remains after Jimbo Fisher departed for Texas A&M and took some of them, and some of them remained to coach the bowl game.

On the FSU job itself:

“Florida State has always been that ‘Dream Job’ for me. As a kid I always wanted to play at Florida State. Wasn’t good enough. I wish coach Bowden would’ve recruited me there (Taggart was a high school star QB at Bradenton Manatee High School)…probably would have had another national championship there,” he deadpanned. “Not in a million years would I have thought it would’ve happened right now. And yes, it’s the only job I would have left Eugene (Oregon) for.”

Continuing with the conversation on ESPN TV, on what kind of talent he has right now:

“We have great players. I told one of my buddies the other day, ‘there’s some toys out there to work with.’ We gotta get back to playing team football. Playing with passion and being excited about it.”

Taggart was asked about what Noles fans can expect to see on offense:

“I don’t think you’ll see a huddle,” he joked. “You’ll see the tempo pick up more than what you’ve seen here lately.…we’re going to get our guys in space and let our athletes do what they do.” Taggart’s up tempo spread offenses were very successful two years ago at USF and last year at Oregon. FSU has been one of the slowest paced and using the least amount of plays offenses in college football under Fisher the last few years.

Finally, on keeping Odell Haggins, a long time defensive line assistant, who’s the interim coach for the bowl game and about promoting him Tuesday to Assistant Head Coach:

“I just watched Odell over the last couple of weeks with the football team and how much respect those players have for him. His passion for Florida State….being on the road with him recruiting. He does a great job recruiting. He’s great in the home (recruits). It’s easy to be great at something when you are passionate about it….He’s Florida State through and through.”

Taggart has not completed his coaching staff, and most importantly has not named his offensive and defensive coordinators, as of yet. Those will obviously be crucial hires not just in the short term for the upcoming year, but for his first two or three years.

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