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Florida State Seminoles

Taggart not revealing FSU QB plan for Wake Forrest

Abbey Radeka

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Glenn Beil-USA TODAY Sports
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FSU head coach Willie Taggart has been pretty upfront about the quarterback situation in Tallahassee, since officially naming James Blackman as the starter before their season opener. However he’s keeping his decision a little closer to the vest this week.

Wether it’s been an intentional move or simply out of desperation, or likely both, Taggart has found himself employing a two quarterback system after starter James Blackman hurt his knee midway through the Louisville game in Week 4. Alex Hornibrook finished the game and brought home the first semi good-looking win for the Noles. The graduate transfer from Wisconsin started the following week against NC state in what was arguably, the Seminoles best game of the season.

Then, prior to this past weekends demolition against Clemson, Taggart named Blackman as starter but explained that Hornibrook would see substantial playing time as well. On Saturday, he did just that, but it proved to be more of a hinderance than beneficial as the offense struggled to get anything going through two and a half quarters.

Though his decision to play both QBs was likely in an effort to give the Noles an edge against the Tiger’s powerhouse of a defensive line, the constant switching didn’t allow either quarterback to get into any sort of a rhythm and only added to the problems that the team is having.

On Thursday, Taggart gave his final thoughts about their upcoming game against Wake Forrest in which they are 2.5 point underdogs. And unlike last week, he gave no indication on who fans can expect to see under center.

When asked if Blackman will be his guy, he said “You’ll see Saturday.”  That was followed up by a question asking if he was planning on using both QB’s, to which he echoed his previous response, “You’ll see Saturday.”

Right now, Taggart is heading into crunch time to try and constitute this 2019 season as rebuilding year.

This past Saturday in Clemson was certainly disappointing because FSU seemed to have more offensive promise than last year, however, that game was not a great way to get a pulse of where the team is at.

It’ll be how they play in upcoming teams on the schedule like Wake Forest, Syracuse, Miami and Boston College to see if the program is truly in the dumps. If they cant recover and compete with those teams to pull out an 8-4 record for the season, it’s going to be hard for Taggart to convince his critics that he’s getting the program back on an upward trajectory.

Abbey is a native Floridan who grew up a fan of all Tampa Bay sports teams. She’s recently graduated from Florida State University with a degree in Media Communication Studies. In her time at FSU, she was an In-Game Host for the Basketball and Baseball teams, and reported for Seminole Sports Magazine, producing feature stories that appeared on Fox Sports Sun. She’s excited to share her perspective on all of Florida’s Football teams, especially the Seminoles.

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Florida State Seminoles

Report- FSU hires Memphis coach Mike Norvell

Florida Football Insiders

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Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports
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The Memphis Tigers secured the American Conference Championship with a dramatic 29 – 24 win over Cincinnati Saturday night, and has been rumored, FSU is securing the Tigers head coach.

Multiple media reports said Saturday night that FSU will name the Memphis head coach, Mike Norvell, to the same position Sunday at a news conference on campus in Tallahassee. The Tallahassee Democrat reported as fact, that Norvell had been hired, but didn’t site a source:

FSU told the media Saturday evening that the press conference will be at noon eastern time, which will also be at the same time that the College Football Playoff rankings show will be taking place on ESPN.

And while Norville’s Tigers won’t be in the College Football Playoff, they will be the highest ranked team in the “Group of Five” bowl category, and that means they will be headed to the Cotton Bowl.

However, that will likely be without their head coach of the last four seasons. Norvell took over as a first-time head coach in Memphis in 2016 after having spent the previous four seasons, as offensive coordinator at Arizona State.

Memphis won 8 games his first season and then 10 games in his second year. Now, they have just completed the best season in program history at 12 – 1, with that lone loss coming at Temple in October. The Tigers beat the East Division AAC champ, Cincinnati, in each of the last two weeks.

The Tigers won dramatically on Saturday afternoon (above) by scoring with just over a minute left in the game. That’s when quarterback Brady White hit wide receiver Antonio Gibson with a 6-yard touchdown and the 29-24 lead. The Tigers missed the two point play and the Bearcats still had life to win the game.

But, Memphis’ defense then held Cincinnati on downs after the Bearcats drove in the final :30 within their 25-yard line.

Norvell is expected to receive a good-sized pay raise from the $2.6 million contract he agreed to with Memphis after the 2018 season.

FSU fired coach Willie Taggart on November 3rd after a humiliating loss the day before to Miami. Florida State sufferd their first losing season in over forty years during Taggart’s first campaign in 2018 and were on track to potentially have a second straight losing season, when he was fired.

Interim coach Odell Haggins led them to a win at Boston College and at home over FCS Alabama State making Florida State bowl eligible.

It is unclear whether Norvell will stay behind and coach Memphis in the biggest bowl game in program history, or if that will go to an interim coach instead.

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Florida State Seminoles

Why hasn’t Florida State named their new coach?

Matt Zemek

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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.

Stay tuned.

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