The Florida State Seminoles are a college football team I cannot preview one way or another on their potential play this season. They have a new head coach, who by the way will be implementing an entirely new offense.
“You can’t teach experience, you can’t coach experience,” Bobby Bowden once stated.
For the first time since 1976, which was Bobby Bowden’s first year as head coach at Florida State. The Seminoles have gone outside the program to find their new head coach. After 34 years of Bowden and eight with his offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher in charge, we get year one of the Willie Taggart tenure.
“Last two coaches we had here won a lot of ball games,” Taggart said. “Looking forward to try to win a lot of ball games like they did.”
Taggart is coming off a 7-6 campaign with the Oregon Ducks, 24-25 with USF and 16-20 with Western Kentucky. Taggart has yet to win a conference championship. He has not won a bowl game and is 47-50 overall in his eight seasons as a head coach.
In week one against Virginia Tech questions will be answered on who is the starting quarterback for FSU. James Blackman, who was a true freshman last season or Deondre Francois who injured his patellar tendon in game one and missed the remainder of the 2017 season. Just as critical, how does his newly installed up-tempo offense look.
Blackman was impressive for a true freshman filling in for Francois. I would give the edge to Francois only if his knee is healthy. 257.7 passing per game by Francois in 2016, the most among FBS freshman. But Blackman can play if health is still the issue early for Francois.
Taggart’s offenses usually include quarterbacks that run. Neither, Blackman or Francois are natural runners. Running backs, Cam Akers and Jacques Patrick are impressive and will make up for that lost quality lost from the quarterbacks. Akers broke Dalvin Cook’s school mark for rushing yards by a freshman last season, and the offense was not impressive under Fisher. Taggart’s offense will give his running backs space through the formation for the backs to succeed.
Defensively, cornerback back Levonta Taylor is excellent one on one. If Stanford Samuels III can blossom, they will give opposing offenses problems. New defensive coordinator Harlon Barnett will explore coverages Seminoles defenses in the past have not used.
Clemson is overloaded with talent; Seminoles do not have enough to challenge Clemson in the ACC. Seminoles will finish above .500 with key games on the road at Miami and Notre Dame. Seminoles host Clemson at home. 7-5 for Taggart’s first season is a fair start to his tenure.