One, as we had written coming off the Clemson debacle blowout, Florida State did in fact turn back to last year’s starter and sophomore James Blackman Saturday. All Blackman did was throw for 421 yards and four touchdowns in the defeat.
The other component that went with that QB decision was coach Willie Taggart relinquishing his play-calling duties to his thirty-four-year-old offense of coordinator, Walt Bell.
Bell was hired away from the University of Maryland as their offensive coordinator, when Taggart got the job last December. Though they hadn’t coached together, he wanted Bell to help install the energetic, and at times frenetic, “Gulf Coast offense” in Tallahassee that Taggart had run at USF and Oregon.
The offense is predicated on the spread formation and playing incredibly fast, sometimes only taking seconds in between plays before getting another snap off.
Florida State has obviously struggled with the transition to that offense, in large part with poor offensive line play.
Taggart announced on Monday after Florida State’s practice that he will allow Bell to call the offense starting with this week’s game in South Bend against Notre Dame and continuing for the rest of the year. Taggart said he feels there are too many other areas of need that he needs to be overseeing especially during the game then worrying as much about play calls on offense.
Bell is considered a rising star, and the move by Taggart shows maturity, as a coach to try to help the struggling offensive unit. A source close to the FSU coaching staff said to F.F.I. of the move to have Bell call the plays, “it was overdue” and “probably should have happened a couple of weeks ago,” and further added it will “only make the Noles better in the long run.”
Back to Blackman, he’s a very popular player in the locker room and did show at times poise and accuracy even while under fire that Deondre Francois never consistently produced during his previous eight starts this year.
Again, no one is under the illusion that this change by Taggart on who calls the plays and who’s actually the quarterback through the end of this season is going to suddenly make Florida State go on a roll.
Their schedule is simply too tough.
However, there’s a strong argument that this is a foundation for 2019 at and beyond for FSU with both play-caller & signal-caller on the field
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