Three things Taggart must do to start turning around FSU

Logan Stanford/Icon Sportswire

Well, to be blunt, the Willie Taggart era didn’t start off like anyone expected in Tallahassee.

Florida State began the season as a top-25 team. They ended it as arguably one of the most disappointing teams in the country after going 5-7 and losing a legendary bowl streak.

Something has got to change, hell, multiple things have got to change.

We’re not in a world where people are going to be patient. Some fans are willing to give Taggart another chance, while others have already thrown in the towel following his less than stellar start.

1. Staff Changes

I think some heads might explode if Taggart stays pat over the offseason and decides not to make any changes to his coaching staff. For the most part, the majority of the ‘Noles coaching staff is expected to be back but some small tweaks could yield big progress. I believe there are two moves that this team could make that would be beneficial moving forward.

First, special teams coach Alonzo Hampton has got to be given his pink slip. FSU had one of the worst special teams units in the country this season, something we’ve grown familiar with over the past few years. With so much talent and athleticism, that can’t be the standard at Florida State, especially when Hampton’s only job is to run the special teams. He failed big time in 2018.

I would love to see Taggart push to try and get former Seminole Terrell Buckley on his staff from Mississippi State. It might be a little costly but it’s worth the money to get the special teams unit back on track.

Elsewhere, I think Taggart should re-assign David Kelly to an off the field position. Kelly wasn’t originally even supposed to coach, he was going to be a GM of sorts for the program, helping with recruiting and other ventures. However, Taggart’s plan to hire Ron Dugans fell through and the result was Kelly coaching the wide receivers in 2018.

It’s not that they didn’t perform well, I just think Kelly is more suited for an off the field role where he can help this program build relationships and recruit. Dugans is apparently a realistic option this offseason.

Don’t expect a move to be made until at least after the Early Signing Period. It wouldn’t surprise me if nothing happened until after February.

2. Evaluating the roster

It was reported earlier this week that Taggart will meet with every player and coach at Florida State to determine their future with the program. The Seminoles can’t afford to keep anyone around who isn’t fully bought into trying to turn this thing around as soon as possible.

There is definitely going to be some attrition. It wouldn’t surprise me if Taggart and his staff try to nudge a few players to move on.

Early candidates for transfers or medical disqualifications could be guys like Deondre Francois, George Campbell, Keith Gavin, Kyle Meyers, Abdul Bello, and Jauan Williams.

Florida State needs to take a page out of Alabama’s playbook.

3. Landing a top-15 class 

If the guys who are going to bring Florida State back aren’t currently on the roster, you’ve got to go get them. That’s exactly what this staff is trying to do right now.

The Seminoles currently have 15 commitments which rank them as the No. 14 class in the country. There’s plenty of room to move up before February.

The main needs Taggart and his staff still need to fill are at offensive line and linebacker. They’re trying to land at least four and probably up to eight offensive linemen in the class. That includes high school and JUCO prospects. The top guys on the wishlist right now are Evan Neal, Will Putnam, Desmond Bland, and Josh Ball.

As for linebacker, FSU is focusing on four-star linebacker Derrick Hall and JUCO Lakia Henry.

The ‘Noles also aren’t quite out of it yet for Kayvon Thibodeaux, especially with Oregon defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt looking to bolt for a head coaching opportunity.

Expect FSU to land somewhere between 22 and 28 recruits in the 2019 cycle.


  1. David Marshall

    November 29, 2018 at 1:09 PM

    Alex Marshall will NOT be transferring.

    He is fully committed to being a top producing Tight End for FSU next season.

    • Dustin Lewis

      November 29, 2018 at 3:28 PM

      Thanks for the good news, David.

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