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Potential candidates to replace Walt Bell

It came as a shock to basically everyone at Florida State when it was announced on Monday evening that offensive coordinator Walt Bell would be leaving Tallahassee to become the head coach at UMass. Bell’s departure has immediate implications across the recruiting trail and brings the Seminoles status with a few recruits into immediate question.

The big fish is obviously four-star quarterback Sam Howell. The relationship between Bell and Howell has been the main sticking point for FSU and now that edge is gone. Willie Taggart and his staff are going to need to get together quickly to determine how they’re going to salvage things with Howell. By the way, if they can’t, these are some quarterbacks that the coaching staff may go after in his place.

While the offense didn’t play as planned in Taggart and Bell’s first seasons at Florida State, it did show some signs of life. The smoothest the team looked on offense all season was during the North Carolina State loss, which was the only time all season Bell solely called plays.

FSU is moving quickly to hire its next offensive coordinator as the school simply can’t afford to waste time with a crucial early signing period around the corner. The Seminoles have reportedly already been in contact with former Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze. With that being said, here are four potential candidates we’ve identified that Taggart could pursue the open position.

Kendal Briles, OC, Houston

Wednesday update (7:00 PM EST)

It seems like things have settled down the last 24 hours. Kendal Briles is still Florida State’s top target for offensive coordinator but things seem to be slowing down the hire. One situation effecting it would be Briles wanting to bring one of his own partners with him to Tallahassee, Houston offensive line coach Randy Clements. During his time at Baylor, Clements had five offensive linemen named All-American and also helped the Bears achieve the top performing offense in the country in 2015 which led them to an average of 48.1 points and 616.2 total yards of offense per game. Clements is also Briles’ brother in law.

Clements joining FSU’s staff would put Willie Taggart in a sticky situation with already having offensive line coach Greg Frey on board. They’re most likely trying to figure out the best way for this to happen because it would affect the positions at hand already under Taggart. There seems to be no kind of rush at Florida State right now but things start to get interesting with the early period of signing day approaching and 4-star quarterback commit Sam Howell wondering who his next offensive coordinator will be. This also plays a factor in the recruitment of 4-star OG William Putman as he is a massive target for the Seminoles and is set to make his announcement very soon.

Tomorrow (11/13) will be 10 days since Walt Bell announced his departure from Florida State but other teams across the country seem to be well ahead in finding their future staff members.

Tuesday update (8:30 AM EST)

The plane is on the move. Willie Taggart visited with Houston bluechip recruit CB Marcus Banks on Monday in an in-home visit. The plane has not stayed for two consecutive nights this month but has filed a flight plan to leave Tuesday at 11:06 AM CST for Las Cruces, New Mexico. This could most likely be for a refueling stop on its way to California for visits including DE Kayvon Thibodeaux.

Saturday update (9:30 PM EST)

A booster owned jet is currently on its way to Houston, Texas. The jet left from Jacksonville earlier Saturday afternoon and was previously in Orlando and Tampa, most likely with Willie Taggart and company visiting Florida’s high school state games. Is it on its way to pick up Florida State’s future offensive coordinator?

Briles is one of the brightest young minds in college football. He’s an innovative play-caller which helped Houston finish with the No. 11 ranked offense in 2018. At just 36-years-old, Briles has already spent 10 years with major programs such as Baylor (2008-16), FAU (2017), and Houston (2018).

Like Freeze, Briles brings off the field issues that may be too much to overcome. He’s connected to the Baylor sexual assault scandal and that’s held him back from getting high-profile jobs.

It will also be hard to get him to Tallahassee. Briles just signed an extension and buying him out of that contract plus paying him seven figures might be too costly.

This move would bring a lot of unnecessary attention to Florida State. But it also might bring wins.

 

Larry Fedora, former HC, North Carolina 

One coach that could mitigate a lot of the damage with Sam Howell while bringing some flair to the offense would be Larry Fedora. That’s right, the former North Carolina had a very good relationship with Howell and was one of the main reasons he was so interested in North Carolina.

Florida State could instantly start reparations on Howell’s commitment while also still placing him with a coach that he has a lot of trust in. Fedora went 45-43 over seven years in Chapel Hill and made the ACC Championship in 2015.

The Seminoles might be able to get Fedora on the cheaper side as he still is owed $12 million by North Carolina.

 

 

Shaun King, Running Backs, USF

King is another guy that Taggart has a relationship with, and a good one. The two coached together in 2016, Taggart’s final season at USF. King was the quarterbacks coached and helped guide Quinton Flowers to a season that broke numerous school records.

After Taggart moved on to Oregon, King stayed at USF and is currently coaching running backs under Charlie Strong. Could a potential reunion be in the works? Stay tuned.

2018 Season Recap


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