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As USF keeps winning, Taggart’s name will keep coming up

Florida Football Insiders

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Now that the Big XII has decided apparently for the short term future that they will not expand, a legitimate question has to be posed in Tampa, how long does USF in its current conference and conditions hang on to coach Willie Taggart?

First, if you understand the Taggart/Mark Harlan/USF football soap opera of the last two plus seasons, that is a mind blowing question above.

If you had told anyone, anyone, with knowledge of the situation after Taggart’s second season (2014) at the helm that finished 4-8, that we would be debating whether the Bulls could keep their coach from being poached for a huge raise by a Power Five (SEC, Big Ten, ACC, etc.) program, they would have laughed.

Out loud. Like, audibly.

Or, they would have asked, who’s the new head coach that we hired after 2014 that everyone now wants?

But, this is why sports is great- Taggart was backed into a corner by the new AD, Harlan, who forced out his offensive and defensive coordinators prior to 2015, and basically put an ultimatum on the season of, win or else.

And that’s exactly what his Bulls did. The young nucleus of talent came together and the Bulls rolled off seven wins out of the final eight games in the regular season and made a bowl game for the first time in five years.

In the process, Taggart naturally became a sudden hot name when jobs, particularly in the South where he’s most known and succeeded as a player and previous head coach at Western Kentucky before USF, came open.

As proof of who was taking notice, he interviewed for the vacancy at South Carolina last December,  before they eventually hired Will Muschamp. Something that seemed laughable and far fetched after Taggart’s 6 combined wins in ’13-14, was now reality. You win, and they love you.

And your current school better love you, too, if they want to keep you.

That’s another part of this crazy soap opera. Shortly, after the flirtations came, Taggart amazingly got an extension and raise from Harlan and USF to remain in Tampa. Well played by him and a peek into this upcoming coaching vacancy mayhem cycle that’s already unfolding.

Now, to USF and their present success of 2016. The Bulls are off to their best start in program history at 6-1. Their prolific offense has exciting players right now, and is as fun to watch, as anyone in the Southeast. And the name Willie Taggart is going to keep coming up.

Now, we at F.F.I. aren’t suggesting that a program like LSU, which has already fired Les Miles, is going to zero in on the head Bull. That’s silly.

But consider this scenario, What if Houston’s Tom Herman, who is the leading ideal candidate to jump into that kind of job, or maybe the Texas job just down the road if they delete Charlie Strong, takes off from H-town? You don’t think that Houston would look at, interview and probably strongly consider Willie Taggart? Wake up.

What happens if Vanderbilt, an hour South from Bowling Green and Western Kentucky where Taggart is a well known legend, were to get rid of coach Derek Mason? It’s an SEC job that pays tremendously well, has built in advantages financially for your staff and facilities and would be a significant step up for a coach like Taggart, if he were to seek it.

Conversely, there is a strong argument that with what he and his staff have built at USF these last four seasons and how likely it is that they will be one of the top teams in the American Conference for the near future, that Taggart should sit tight for now. That he should continue his impressive recruiting of Florida’s fertile ground, win some more and thereby, only improve his resume’/brand name and eventual price tag.

USF and their fans obviously rejoice at that argument.

But, the double edged sword is: Winning only gets him more and more better opportunities and interviews, as he does.

In conclusion, all we’re saying is, as the openings continue this year and potentially next, get used to hearing the name “Willie Taggart” more and more.

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Report- Alabama will hire Charlie Strong as consultant

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Former USF coach Charlie Strong has decided on a new role for the upcoming 2020 season, and it won’t be in Gainesville.

ESPN college football insider Chris Low reported Tuesday morning that Strong has agreed to join Nick Saban’s staff at Alabama as a defensive “consultant” for this season

As we wrote last week, Strong had visited Saban and the Tide about the possible position on his staff, while considering a similar opportunity to join either Dan Mullen’s Gators staff or a couple of others in a consulting role. None of this will affect the nearly $3 million that USF still owes him as the buyout on the final two years of his contract.

Strong was fired after the Bulls collapsed losing their final four games to finish 4 – 8 this season. They were beaten by 27 or more points five times this year, including the last two losses to Memphis and rival UCF. This combined with the Bulls having lost their final six games, including their bowl game last year, meant that Strong had lost 14 of his final 18 games.

USF hired Clemson Co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott earlier about a week later and gave him a 5-year, $12 million deal to become a first-time head coach in FBS football.

There had been some debate about Strong’s buyout being the amount of compensation that was remaining on his original five-year contract that he signed when he took the job in December of 2016 after being fired by the University of Texas. That contract called for Strong to be paid to $2. 5 million on average for 2020 and 2021.

However, USF informed Strong in his termination letter that the amount would be approximately $3 million under clauses in his deal.

Saban has a history of taking in former head coaches to come to Bama and observe and assist as a consultant with either his offense or defense. He’s done this for the last two years with former Tennessee coach Butch Jones and obviously, took in both Lane Kiffin and Steve Sarkisian both of whom had been fired as coaches by USC at different stages.

Strong is known is an outstanding defensive coach from his previous days, as the Gators defensive coordinator under Urban Meyer. He later went on to success at the University of Louisville before taking The the Texas head coaching job in 2014.

Strong was fired after three seasons in Austin in 2016, but immediately hired by USF to replace Willie Taggart.

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USF Bulls

Former USF coach Strong to be consultant for Alabama?

Florida Football Insiders

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Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

And intriguing item popped up Friday morning involving former USF head coach Charlie Strong and him visiting Nick Saban the Alabama football program.

According to Alabama Insider and radio host, Aaron Suttles, Strong, who was dismissed last December after his third season with the Bulls, was in Tuscaloosa Thursday meeting with Saban and his staff:

Strong had also been reportedly talking with the University of Florida about a possible consultant role, which likely would not affect the nearly $3 million that USF still owes him as the buyout on the final two years of his contract.

Strong was fired after the Bulls collapsed losing their final four games to finish 4 – 8 this season. They were beaten by 27 or more points five times this year, including the last two losses to Memphis and rival UCF. This combined with the Bulls having lost their final six games, including their bowl game last year, meant that Strong had lost 14 of his final 18 games.

USF hired Clemson Co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott earlier about a week later and gave him a 5-year, $12 million deal to become a first-time head coach in FBS football.

There had been some debate about Strong’s buyout being the amount of compensation that was remaining on his original five-year contract that he signed when he took the job in December of 2016 after being fired by the University of Texas. That contract called for Strong to be paid to $2. 5 million on average for 2020 and 2021.

However, USF informed Strong in his termination letter that the amount would be approximately $3 million under clauses in his deal.

Saban has a history of taking in former head coaches to come to Bama and observe and assist as a consultant with either his offense or defense. He’s done this for the last two years with former Tennessee coach Butch Jones and obviously, took in both Lane Kiffin and Steve Sarkisian both of whom had been fired as coaches by USC at different stages.

Strong is known is an outstanding defensive coach from his previous days, as the Gators defensive coordinator under Urban Meyer. He later went on to success at the University of Louisville before taking The the Texas head coaching job in 2014.

Strong was fired after three seasons in Austin in 2016, but immediately hired by USF to replace Willie Taggart

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