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NoleGameday

Week 3 Bold Prediction: Willie Taggart gets his Signature Win

Logan Stanford/Icon Sportswire

Prediction:

Florida State will seal a signature victory in Charlottesville that will be the turning point in Willie Taggart’s tenure at Florida State.

Why it’s bold:

The Willie Taggart era has had about as rough of a start as one could imagine. After his first 14 games in charge, the ‘Noles hold an embarrassing record of 6-8. Last year it was the incompetence of the offense and special teams, this year it has been the defense. At no point throughout Taggart’s tenure have the ‘Noles played a complete game from start to finish.



Why I believe it will happen:

If I am being completely honest here, my confidence in the remainder of the “Taggart Era” has been wavering. If we have learned anything from these first two games, it has been that the defense has regressed significantly. The offense, however, has improved exponentially. In Bill Connely’s highly respected SP+, the ‘Noles offense ranks in the top 10. A complete 180 from 2018. The hires of Kendal Briles and Randy Clements are to thank for that drastic improvement. Willie Taggart also has a history of rough starts to his tenures at other programs. At Western Kentucky and South Florida, Taggart started with losing records and he was on the verge of being run out of town. He was eventually able to turn it around. In the case for USF, he turned it around at virtually the last chance after starting his third season in charge 1-3. The victory that turned everything around was a 45-24 victory against Syracuse. That victory led Taggart and the Bulls to winning 7 of their remaining 8 games of the regular season.

I believe that turnaround happens Saturday against the Cavaliers. In recent interviews, Harlon Barnett has stated that the younger linebackers will receive opportunities on Saturday. An injection of youthful energy is needed to a linebacker group that has been absolutely dismal. That along with the hire of Jim Leavitt, I see the potential for an enormous improvement from a group that has been nothing short of disappointing. Jim Leavitt may be joining the staff in a limited role as a quality control analyst, but his experience will prove beneficial in game planning.

There may not be much confidence out there among ‘Nole fans that Taggart has what it takes to turn things around, but he has shown the ability in his past stops to make drastic improvements at seemingly the last second. This may be one of Taggart’s last chances at salvaging his dream job and I believe he does so with a signature win in Charlottesville Saturday evening.

 


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