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Florida State Seminoles

“Noise in system” for Willie Taggart- FSU

Matt Zemek

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Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports
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Ron Zook used the expression “noise in the system” for the times when the Florida Gators fell into a rut on the gridiron. Zook never escaped that rut. As a result, his tenure didn’t last very long.

Willie Taggart needs some earplugs right now, because the noise in the system at Florida State is very loud after a 22-20 loss to Wake Forest.

On Monday afternoon, a Tampa-based host/broadcaster who used to work for the FSU radio network has said this prior to and on his show:

Josh Newburg, insider of 24/7 Sports discussed not only a buyout for Taggart on his most recent podcast, but the timetable, which could be a lot more compressed and accelerated than previously thought:

This Florida State football season started with Boise State… and it has never ceased to be noisy. Currently, the volume has gone all the way up, the speakers are blaring, and the neighbors are complaining of “noise pollution.”

Whether you think the buyout talk is real or not, you can agree that this situation is very serious. You can also agree that losing to Wake Forest – in a game many people felt weeks ago was going to be the true measure of this season and this coaching staff – has significantly weakened Taggart’s position in Tallahassee.

This was a game he could not afford to lose, in my opinion. Yet, even if you think he didn’t have to win this game, the WAY in which Taggart lost the game has made his situation a million times worse.

Taggart. Coached. Horribly.

This is not even a point of debate. It is woefully obvious.

Let’s start with the late field goal and everything which was a part of it.

First off, Florida State did not seem to want to push the ball down the field on the preceding third and eight from the Wake 35. Receivers might have been initially covered, but that was a very quick checkdown and not what the situation demanded. The first read on the play might have contained a good intent, but the execution and design did not make the grade.

That is a bread crumb of failure in the larger scheme of things.

Here is the bigger banquet table of coaching malpractice to lay out before you:

Taggart called a timeout before Ricky Aguayo’s missed field goal. He robbed his team of 45 seconds, which crushed FSU’s chances of getting the ball back in the event of a miss. If he had to call the timeout because his team was disorganized, that doesn’t reduce the extent to which Taggart completely botched that situation. If anything, it magnifies his failure.

Florida State has lacked discipline and focus throughout Taggart’s tenure The reality that the Seminoles are getting WORSE, not better, in this regard is a searing indictment not only of this season’s performance, but of Taggart as a man capable of fixing fundamental problems which had existed the previous year.

It is hard if not impossible to have confidence in a coach for 2020 if 2018’s problems have not been adequately addressed in 2019.

But that’s not all.

The worst mistake of the night – worse than that field goal timeout fiasco – was not trusting Cam Akers to get six inches deep in FSU territory midway in the fourth quarter with a 20-19 lead.

Forget for a brief moment that any elite team with an elite running back should feel it can get six inches anywhere on the field and should ALWAYS pursue those six inches. Forget that for just a second.

The even bigger outrage about Taggart’s pansy punt is that if you are a coach who is fighting for his job and fighting to revive a blue-blood program which has fallen on hard times, you HAVE to coach aggressively.

If you aren’t willing to make statement plays; if you aren’t willing to exhibit in your coaching decisions the same fearlessness and toughness you expect of your players, how can you win your players’ trust?

This was a horrible move in terms of football strategy, but it was an even worse move in terms of building confidence and trust among players.

No wonder these buyout rumors are swirling. No wonder the noise in the system is deafening.

Willie Taggart might not be done at Florida State, but the mere reality that some people seem to think he is done can only be traced back to one thing:

Willie Taggart keeps coaching in ways which erode confidence instead of restoring it.

Matt Zemek is the co-editor of Tennis With An Accent with Saqib Ali. Matt is the lead writer for the site and helps Saqib with the TWAA podcast, produced by Radio Influence at radioinfluence.com. Matt has written professionally about men's and women's tennis since 2014 for multiple outlets: Comeback Media, FanRagSports, and independently at Patreon, where he maintains a tennis site. You can reach Matt by e-mail: mzemek@hotmail.com. You can find him on Twitter at @mzemek.

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Florida State Seminoles

FSU RB Akers announced Saturday he’s turning pro

Florida Football Insiders

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Glenn Beil-USA TODAY Sports
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FSU running back Cam Akers has played his final game for the Noles. The talented junior running back announced on social media Saturday afternoon that he will not play in the upcoming Sun Bowl matchup with Arizona State. He will instead prepare starting now for the NFL Draft:

“These last three years have been incredible, and I am so appreciative that the FSU family welcomed a kid from Mississippi with open arms….. I have decided to enter the 2020 NFL draft and will not play in the Sun Bowl,” Akers post stated, in part.

Florida State was back on the practice field Saturday afternoon in Tallahassee after exam week concluded. Interim coach Odell Haggins is still overseeing the practice with newly hired head coach Mike Norvell out recruiting throughout the South.

Back to Akers, he came to the Seminoles of the highly-touted running back out of Clinton, MS, who ran for 8,000 yards in his career. However he suffered behind poor offensive line play each of the last two seasons, but still Acres finished 2019 with just over 1,100 yards rushing 14 TDs. A year ago those numbers were worse at just over 700 yards and six scores.

Originally recruited by Jimbo Fisher staff, Akers endured three offensive coordinators in three seasons, when new coach Willie Taggart took over for 2018 and hired Walt Bell for the 2018 campaign. Then Bell left to be the head coach at UMass after last season and Taggart hired Kendal Briles for this season.

The offense sputtered throughout the early season and Taggart was fired on November 3rd with three games remaining. Had Akers chosen to stay for Norvell, he’s already hired Kenny Dillingham (his former Memphis OC), which would have been a fourth coordinator.

It’s believed that Akers would likely be a possible second round pick, but he may slip to the third round or beyond because of the shaky productivity of FSU’s offense the last couple of years.

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Florida State Seminoles

Taggart’s FAU contract details released

Florida Football Insiders

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Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports
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Former FSU head coach Willie Taggart was officially introduced as Florida Atlantic University’s new head coach on Thursday afternoon. Along with the announcement, were the details to his new contract with the Owls.

According to USA Today and the Associated Press, Taggart is receiving $750,000 a year in base pay for five years with a $3 million buyout if Taggart leaves before December of 2022.

The Palm Beach Post broke down his full contract details that includes performance bonuses and perks. 

— Taggart will make $750,000 per year for five years. For comparison, FAU’s last head coach, Lane Kiffin, made a $950,000 base salary per year. Kiffin’s earnings went over $1 million when a home loan, given to him by FAU, was factored in.

— Taggart owes FAU $3 million if he leaves the school or is fired before Dec. 1, 2022. The buyout drops to $1 million if he leaves before Dec. 1, 2023 and $500,000 between Dec. 2, 2023-Dec. 31, 2024.

— Taggart will receive a $25,000 retention bonus every Jan. 15.

— Incentives for Taggart include $100,000 for making a New Year’s Six Bowl or a top-10 finish. Taggart earns $50,000 for a Top 25 finish or for being named the National Coach of the Year.

— Taggart receives $20,000 for making the Conference USA Championship Game and $40,000 for winning it. FAU has won two league titles in the past three years.

— Taggart earns an extra $30,000 for making a bowl game. Winning the national championship nets Taggart $500,000.

— Taggart’s buyout is offset by his base salary at FAU. FSU will save around $3 million on Taggart’s $18 million buyout.

In addition to his salary, the University is offering perks such as a car allowance, a membership at the Boca Raton Resort and Club, and the option for family to travel on team charter.

Taggart, who was fired in November, halfway into his second season at Florida State, will be replacing Lane Kiffin, who departed for Ole Miss after Saturday’s Conference USA championship game win over UAB.

The reason Florida State fans have to be so enthusiastic is the Taggart was reportedly owed over $17 million on his buyout with four years left on his deal. However, that amount has to be lessened some, if not significantly, since he’s going to immediately take another head coaching job. It’s still not clear how much FSU will still be paying Taggart.

Taggart went just 9-12 in his season and a half with the Noles, which included Florida State suffering their first losing season in over forty years in 2018, when they went 5 – 7. When 2019 began with a collapsing loss at home to Boise State and then a near loss-OT victory over UL-Monroe, it seemed the handwriting was on the wall.

The final blow in Tallahassee came when Taggart’s team looked lifeless and undisciplined in their 27-10 loss to ACC instate rival Miami Novemeber 2nd. He was dismissed the next afternoon.

Taggart came to FSU from Oregon, where he spent one year and went 7-5 before jumping, again, in December of 2017 to take the Noles job. He previously was the coach at USF for four seasons, where after starting 2-10 year one, he reversed that number in his final year (2016) to 10 – 2.

Now that his contract is signed, he’ll be fully a go to pick up recruiting in the state where he’s well known in from his previous tenures in state programs.

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