Now that the Tallahassee version of “The Bold and the Beautiful” soap opera has played out and Jimbo Fisher is officially leaving to coach at Texas A&M, the #1 question for Noles fans is: who do we get as a his replacement?
It has already been a wacky coaching carousel week, that has seen Florida hire Dan Mullen away from Mississippi State, UCLA lure Chip Kelly back to the Pac-12 out of the ESPN studio and Tennessee comically fumble their search from former Bucs coach/Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano to Purdue’s Jeff Brohm, to N.C. State’s David Doren, etc. etc.
And now the Vols have fired their AD, Jack Currie, on Friday in the middle of the mayhem.
So, truly, anything can happen in this Noles search.
Now, the list of names that we think have the best shot to be the boss in Tallahassee:
Justin Fuente, Virginia Tech:
We were told by a source close to Fuente that he had been an early quiet candidate for the Florida job, while the Hokies regular season played out last weekend. That same source says Fuente is front and center for this job at FSU. Fuente is 19-7 in his two seasons at VA Tech. He previously took the Memphis Tigers to a 10 win season in 2014 followed by a nine win season in 2015 during his first head coaching stop.
Willie Taggart, Oregon
Taggart just finished his first season with Ducks at 7-5 with a blowout win over rival Oregon Sate last Saturday. Obviously, he has Florida ties having bolted USF after a 10 win season in 2016. Taggart had previously coached at Western Kentucky leading them to a seven win season and a bowl in 2012. And, where was decorated QB in the late 1990’s out of Bradenton Manatee High School. He is a tremendous recruiter in the state of Florida and would seem to fit for a lot of reasons. Taggart had been offered an extention by Oregon this week. Stay Tuned.
Kevin Sumlin, former Texas A&M coach
Sumlin was fired Sunday by the Aggies after six seasons having gone 7-5 this year. His best season at College Station was 2012 when they won 11 games and QB Johnny Manziel was the Heisman Trophy winner. Sumlin never could get A&M to the next level in the SEC and on the national scale despite winning 51 games in the six years. He also was previously the coach at the University of Houston where he won 35 games in four years, including a 12 win season in 2011. He is a QB/offensive guru and would be an immediate “win” for the Noles QB and offensive issues.
Lane Kiffin, Florida Atlantic
Obviously, there is baggage with the first year FAU coach. We laid it out here earlier this week. But for now, the Owls are about to host the Conference USA Championship Game Saturday against North Texas with Kiffin having led the to an 8-0 conference run. In just his first year he turned FAU into an offensive powerhouse (Kiffin’s specialty) and some are wondering if he has grown up from imploding previously at USC, and with the Oakland Raiders in the NFL. Kiffin was also very successful as the offensive coordinator at Alabama, including the 2015 College Football Playoff Championship Game win over Clemson. He obviously can recruit, but would FSU even breathe his direction?
There are four names and we’ll see how much atteniton any or all get and what other names are out there for what is one of the premiere jobs in college football at FSU.
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