At the end of the 2016 season Willie Taggart had just come off leading the University of South Florida Bulls to a 10-2 season, the culmination of a 3 year turn around that had made Taggart, a rarity an African American head coach, highly sought after by big name colleges…
The big name college that came calling was Oregon, who, since Chip Kelly had departed for the NFL, was already wanting to move on from his successor Mark Helfrich.
What seemed like a great move for Taggart started inauspiciously when several players were hospitalised after workouts by the new strength and fitness regime. The season ended with a 7-5 record. Not spectacular but an improvement.
It was good enough that Florida State, reeling from their coach Jimbo Fisher leaving for the dollars offered by the SEC and Texas A&M, came calling. There is a feeling that Oregon were not totally convinced by the short exposure to the Willie Taggart era, add to the fact that Taggart was a Florida native it seemed a match made in heaven.
So far this season has been an unmitigated disaster. A good recruiting class, ranked 11th nationally, is about par for the Seminoles, but what has followed on the field isn’t. A week one loss to Virginia Tech, when the Seminoles looked at times inept, was followed a win against Samford, a small school who pushed the Noles all the way.
This weekend saw them handed a decisive 30-7 loss at Syracuse, a team that has been making names for its spread offence held the Noles scoreless at the half and allowed under 300 yards total offense. I listened to the first half of this game on the radio and all I can remember is ineptitude on Florida State’s offence.
QB Deondre Francois was seen brushing off the assistance of his O line in helping him up after one sack, he was that peed off by their performance and an inability to consistently protect him.
There are now numerous gofundme websites appearing asking for donations, as Seminole fans attempt to raise the funds for Taggart’s contractual buyout figure. With a schedule that includes Miami, Notre Dame, Florida and the current king of the ACC conference, Clemson, it is not a promising future ahead.
The city of Los Angeles is home to two of the most famous college teams in America, USC and UCLA, and so far this season they both share the distinction of having Head Coaches on rapidly warming seats.
USC head coach Clay Helton was brought in as in interim coach initially replacing the well known social drinker, Steve Sarkisian. While not expected to be there past his interim status Helton lucked into inheriting Sam Darnold and brought a level of respectability back to SC. However Darnold has left, and the fans are looking for signs that SC is once again returning to dominance of the PAC 12 conference.
This season since an opening win over UNLV, SC lost to Stanford, one of their perceived rivals for PAC 12 this weekend saw a humiliating loss against Texas, while once that wouldn’t have sounded too bad, this Texas is a long way from the old time dominant Longhorns teams. Given that Helton has never truly been accepted as a coach worthy of the USC position his job is looking increasingly tenuous.
Across town at SC’s biggest rival UCLA we have the return of former coaching genius known as Chip Kelly. Big salary, big expectations and an established PAC 12 rep as former Oregon coach in its glory days.
Saturday saw a third consecutive loss to open the season. A reversal at home to Cincinnati was followed by an excusable road loss at Oklahoma and now a comprehensive home defeat against the power of San Jose State. The form of the defeats has been more worrying. Clearly, he won’t be fired after just 3 games and at least non are PAC 12 defeats but people are starting to wonder whether the magic of Chip Kelly died in the NFL?