Willie Taggart and the Seminoles fell to Justin Fuente and the Virginia Tech Hokies last night in a rainy Labor Day contest. The debut is far from what fans expected following an off-season that was full of changes, successful recruiting, a shift in culture and high hopes following Jimbo Fisher’s departure. Over social media and various sports media outlets players and coaching staff spoke of lethal simplicity, a fast paced offense, improved offensive line, and tenacious defense. All of which, seemed to be missing from last night’s game. Florida State had 63 offensive plays, 35 of which went for zero or negative yards. The offense couldn’t seem to get going and adjustments weren’t made quick enough to save the Seminoles against an electric Virginia Tech defense.
Florida State’s secondary looked questionable being picked on early by the Hokies’ receivers starting the game with a 75-yard touchdown drive. After that, a momentum shift ensued followed by a fumble by veteran receiver Nyqwan Murray, a Hokie field goal, and an uncharacteristic missed field goal by Ricky Aguayo that would’ve shifted the paradigm of the game but furthermore contributed to the Florida State shut out.
Even with the various mishaps, miscommunications and mistakes made in the game any football fan would understand that these can be fixed and it is not by any means Willie Taggart’s fault entirely. Florida State was outcoached and outplayed by a Virginia Tech team they were favored to win over, not because of their lack of talent or coaching personnel but because of costly mistakes, lack of leadership, and synergy on both sides of the ball. In addition to that, Florida State fans have to understand that the same football team Jimbo Fisher left with a 7-5 record, is the same team that Willie Taggart inherited. Last year Florida State saw the same issues with their lack of depth at linebacker and wide receiver, last year Florida State despite having Tarvarus McFadden was still short at corner, and the offensive line was still struggling. These specific issues take time to fix and although this program is used to being elite and winning, Florida State is in their rebuilding stages.
One man that has already agreed with this is one of the best coaches in Florida State and NCAA history, Bobby Bowden. Before the game Bobby Bowden said he is impressed with Taggart and what he’s doing with the program so far but also says this doesn’t mean he is going to win quickly.
“… I’m convinced, the more I see him, he is going to win. Maybe not quick, but maybe quick. But he’s going to win before it is over.” Said Bowden.
It’s going to take time to introduce an entirely new system and also bring in players to fix where you’re lacking. In Jimbo Fisher’s debut he also lost to an FBS team 47-17 scoring on the final play of the game to bring it that close. Bobby Bowden lost 21-12 to Memphis and then went on to create Florida State into what it is today.
Bottom line is, it is too early to question Taggart, and way too early to expect instant results. Fans need to relax and allow the season to unfold before calling for the termination of Coach Willie Taggart. Rome wasn’t built in one day and neither will Florida State football.