Back to Blowouts: Taggart’s Cutthroat Approach

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When Florida State joined the ACC in 1992, they put the entire league on notice. FSU’s first season in the league ended with an average win margin of over 16 points per game winning many of those games in blowout fashion. In 2017, FSU finished ACC play being outscored by 45 points on the season. Outside of the Jameis Winston era, the ‘Noles would often find themselves in close games that should have been blowouts under former head coach Jimbo Fisher.

Far too often during the Jimbo era, FSU would find themselves in close games against inferior competition. In 2015, Florida State left Winston Salem with a narrow 24-16 win over Wake Forest. In 2016, the Seminoles dropped a close game at home to a North Carolina team that would eventually lose five games. Even with Winston at quarterback, the ‘Noles needed a last-second field goal at home to defeat what would be a 7-6 Boston College team.

Fisher’s conservative play-calling with a lead led to much of Florida State’s struggles. In 2012, the ‘Noles jumped out to a 16-0 lead on North Carolina State when Fisher decided he would shut down the offense and ride the defense to a victory. The only problem is the defense didn’t’ live up to their end of the bargain and gave up 17 second-half points as FSU suffered their first loss of the season in Raleigh taking the team out of national title contention.

If history tells us anything, that won’t be an issue with Willie Taggart at FSU. Florida State isn’t going to win every game with Taggart at the helm. That simply wouldn’t be a reasonable expectation. What Seminole fans can expect, however, is more wins in blowout fashion of teams that simply can’t match the talent in Garnet and Gold.

It’s no surprise that Taggart, who played quarterback in college, is an offensive mind. One thing to note is that when Taggart’s Gulf Coast Offense gets rolling, he refuses to let off the gas. In a 2016 game at USF, Taggart found his Bulls up 38-22 against Eastern Carolina with just a few seconds left on the clock. Instead of taking a knee, Taggart went for the jugular.

From 17 yards out, Taggart called a pass play that resulted in a touchdown with one second left. That play was called back for a holding penalty with and the game was thought to be over. Taggart had other ideas though. He took another shot at the end zone with that final tick on the clock, though that attempt fell short. When asked after the game what his thought process was, Taggart didn’t hold back.

“Because we wanted to score,” he said. “That’s our job on offense, to score points, right? We want to score, so we tried to score. What do you want us to do? We’re not taking a knee. We want to score.”

After a follow-up question in his post-game press conference, Taggart doubled down.

“We’re trying to score,” Taggart said. “To take a knee for anybody, where is it in the rulebook where it says you have to do that? For anyone to be upset, that’s not my fault, you know. We’re trying to score points.”

Later that season, Taggart once again struck again, this time against USF’s biggest rival, the Knights of Central Florida. With a 10 point lead late in the game, the Bulls elected to rub some salt in the wound. Less than 20 seconds remained on the clock when Taggart dialed up one last touchdown rush extending their margin of victory to 17 points.

Saturday’s Garnet and Gold game displayed just how lethal Taggart’s Gulf Coast Offense can be. And Willie Taggart will refuse to shut it down when it’s rolling. Blowouts will return to Tallahassee this fall.

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