BR article on FSU "The Mess Jimbo Left"

This is a great read if you have a few minutes..

The Mess Jimbo Left: Inside FSU's Fall and Willie Taggart's Plan to Rise Again

"We were Clemson before Clemson," a former assistant to Fisher at FSU says. "We were the team that had caught Alabama and was getting ready to pass them.

"Then it all fell off the cliff."

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I read a portion of it. I agree you can't put it all on Willie, but he still needs to show up in order to get that program back on track.


Interesting read. Gave me a new appreciation for Taggart. Not an easy position to walk into, but it seems like he has a good long-term plan. Wonder if the fan base and administration will support him long enough to turn the program around. I'm not a fan of FSU, but the ACC would be a lot more fun with Clemson, Miami, FSU, and VT all running full steam. Sprinkle in an occasional Pitt/BC/Cuse/NCSU/UNC/Louisville and the ACC would make for some entertaining football.

I'm just here to sling some legs

Meh. Don't get me wrong there's a chance Taggart can turn this around but I still don't think he was the right hire. I remember him being incredibly lax going into last season, though he seemingly realized that wasn't going to work later in the season. His overall record is still below 50%, yes he's taken over mess programs but didn't really raise any to prominence. A single decent year at USF followed by 'meh' at Oregon. He's got more to work with here than he's ever had so we'll see but I feel like for a school with the history of Bowden and Jimbo, Taggart is a very underwhelming hire.

(add if applicable) /s

Fair enough, all good points. If he can clean the program up a bit and instill some discipline, he may lay a foundation for the next guy (if he can't get it there himself). FWIW, I was never impressed with the hire either and it seemed like he did a lot of finger pointing last season. But since he is someone else's coach, I say good luck to him.

I'm just here to sling some legs

To add to this point, the thing I find jarring with Taggart is what a completely different tune he's singing in OP's article vs what I remember reading up to our start of the season match up. All summer we heard all about how FSU was going to turn it around with "lethal simplicity", and they even came out with that stupid dance at the very beginning of the game. Point being, they came out over the summer with a lot of swagger, and Taggart acted all surprised in the post game interview about how he didn't think they'd come out so flat.

Now people are supposed to buy the narrative that Taggart has a great plan to rebuild the program, and knew from the beginning that he was going to have to crack some skulls to get there? I got to say, I'm not buying the spin.

That's what I thought as well. This was a spin article to get the fan base back behind Taggart.


the ACC would be a lot more fun with Clemson, Miami, FSU, and VT all running full steam. Sprinkle in an occasional Pitt/BC/Cuse/NCSU/UNC/Louisville and the ACC would make for some entertaining football.

We want good ACC teams in the north (Syracuse, BC) and South (FSU, Miami). I want every team between Atlanta and Pittsburgh (except VT) to suck. That would give the ACC enough good teams to boost our reputation and SOS, but get rid of (in conference) recruiting competition in the Mid-Atlantic and Carolinas. Would be nice.

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Similar shades to what we went through this past year. Not quite as bad as them I think, but glad we've got better team unity and harmony. Only time will tell.

Any excuse to post this gif.

"Sooner or later, if man is ever to be worthy of his destiny, we must fill our heart with tolerance."
-Stan Lee

"Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing."
-Ron Swanson

"11-0, bro"
-Hunter Carpenter (probably)

They had three former QBs on Last Chance U...that's not ideal.

Remember when they swag surfed for 30 seconds before opening kickoff, then proceeded to give up a touchdown the first possession and lose the game 24-3?

Marshall University student.
Virginia Tech fanatic.

That jailbird program needs this guy!

"Hey Bud, you wont have to hold the opponent to 17 points anymore."

I have been defending Taggart for the last year and a half and I'm not stopping now. Give that guy five years at FSU and they'll be in the mix for ACC and Playoff. Book it.

Based on what?

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

Based on his track record.

At Western Kentucky, his three years were 2-10, 7-5, and 7-5 with a bowl appearance the final year.
At USF, his four years were 2-10, 4-8, 8-5, and 10-2
He only spent one year at Oregon, 7-5 after Helfrich bottomed out at 4-8 after three declining years as HC.

Everywhere he goes, his teams have show improvement year over year with the notable exception of his last year at Western Kentucky, which still wasn't worse than the year before.

The BR article suggests that he inherited a... situation... at FSU. I don't hold his first FSU year against him, and it sounds like the FSU administration understands what he's dealing with.

Yeah... I don't think that's going to happen.

His teams only have a single identity... Play fast. It appeared that they ran all of 3 different plays in any given game last season (I'm exaggerating a bit of course). When I see his offense actually being a little bit creative, you might get me to believe FSU will be a top tier (not Clemson however) ACC team.

Is it basketball season yet?

Pretty sure the offense will be a lot better with their athletes running Kendall Briles* system.

*Fuck Kendall Briles and his Dad.

"Sooner or later, if man is ever to be worthy of his destiny, we must fill our heart with tolerance."
-Stan Lee

"Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing."
-Ron Swanson

"11-0, bro"
-Hunter Carpenter (probably)

Kendall Briles and his Dad

Ah, was at Baylor for the entirety. Yuuuuup. F 'em.

Click here to destroy wall.

First year - give him time.

I don't know what's up with ppl and thinking that if a coach system doesn't start producing from the first play of the first game of the first season he just started then the coach and system must be a failure. Sheesh.

I'm generally a patient guy, and I agree with you. I just happen to think Taggart is an average P-5 coach at best. Time will tell.

Is it basketball season yet?

Seems that you have an inherent bias against him without any real proof that he's an average P-5 coach "at best".

i mean, do we have that proof one way or the other?

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

No but there's a difference between giving the benefit of the doubt and letting someone prove with results rather than saying off the bat "He's not a good P5 coach". The latter has already made an assumption without any data to back-it-up.

Who said that, though?

"I just happen to think Taggart is an average P-5 coach at best. Time will tell" is not the same as "He's not a good P5 coach".

Edit: you are right in that we don't have nearly a large enough sample size to be talking about his ceiling as a coach yet

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

your quote and OPs quote from their earlier post:

Yeah... I don't think that's going to happen.

His teams only have a single identity... Play fast. It appeared that they ran all of 3 different plays in any given game last season (I'm exaggerating a bit of course).

You combine this with what you acknowledged is lack of data to say one way or another and BOOM - there you have it. Inherent bias.

Maybe he'll be right. Maybe he'll be wrong. But either way he's coming with a predisposed position.

Inherent bias doesn't invalidate the opinion, though. OP never said "he's not a good coach", just that they don't think Small William will wind up being anything better than an average head coach at the P5 level when all is said and done.

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

Never said it does. Just saying he should acknowledge his bias and own it. Opinion is opinion and is always biased. But he's not stating fact and his bias seems very negative, which brings us back full circle to my original comment:

Seems that you have an inherent bias against him without any real proof that he's an average P-5 coach "at best".

Is 12-12 over two years and a terrible offense at FSU enough of a starting point to say "based on what I've seen, I think he'll wind up being an average at best P5 coach"?

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

Again. I can't spell this out enough for you. One year at Oregon and one year at FSU with bonehead players. I can't make it any easier than that for you I'm sorry.

So if (based on what you said below), the only conclusions you could come to in life were based solely on data points, much would be left undone in this world. However, I'll leave you with his record as a head coach below:

WKU: 2011 & 2012 Taggart went 7-5 both years. Definitely a "turnaround" of sorts, but nothing mind blowing.

USF: 2013 Taggart went 2-10, 2014 was 4-8, 8-5 with a bowl loss to none other than WKU, then in 2015 the Bulls went 10-2 (a historic season no doubt). 2015 with USF was Taggart's first 'great' season as a head coach (I'm defining great in terms of wins here).

Oregon: 2016 Taggart went 7-5 (4-5 in the Pac12)... In a conference where no one plays defense.

One could make the case that he really hasn't been at any single location long enough to show what he can really do (which can create both hope and skepticism), that may be true. But, as I stated above, nothing that I've seen from Taggart at USF, Oregon, or FSU indicates to me that there is anything creative or complex going on with his offense. That isn't to say he can't coach a competitive team, but I don't see anything in his career or in the performance of his teams that indicates he will be successful as a big time P-5 coach.

Is it basketball season yet?

One could make the case that he really hasn't been at any single location long enough to show what he can really do (which can create both hope and skepticism), that may be true.

You've answered your own question.

And if you're truly judging someone based on their performance in WKU (not even bottom-tier - but shit-tier team), and going to neglect the ACTUAL turnaround in USF, and then judge one ONE seasons performance at Oregon - then you're just showing bias.

The data isn't there to show one way or another at either Oregon or even WKU (though 7-5 ain't bad yes), but USF DOES show given time he can do well and then you want to shit on it. I guess you can't please every arm-chair QB/Coach.

You're still missing my original point about what I've seen from Taggart and his "Lethal Simplicity".

Is it basketball season yet?

I think you're still missing my entire post.

I elaborated on this below, but I don't think you understand how difficult the WKU and USF jobs were. WKU was on a 26 game losing streak before Taggart took over, and he took them bowling in back to back seasons. USF had NEVER had a double-digit win season before Taggart. I get that Oregon isn't much of a data point, but there's been a lot said about how Helfrich created a culture void of accountability, and that Taggart managed to turn that around.

I don't see anything in his career... that indicates he will be successful as a big time P-5 coach.

There's only one coach I can think of who completed a USF level turn around at a G5 school and failed at the P5 level - that's Al Golden.

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Might not be consistently Clemson-level, but who is? Clemson. And Alabama. Maybe Oklahoma. Ohio State.

I expect them to be competitive with Clemson within three years. They might not win any of those, but I expect FSU to rebound relatively quickly.

Ah the Justin Fuente approach

/s please don't crucify me

But actually IIRC there was a study that showed coach will have elevated his program about as high as it will go within x years and I think it was less than 5 years.

Recruit Prosim

For every average there were data points higher and lower. It's unreasonable to make a hard line out of an average.

I think that without knowing the distribution of the data, your statement is a little naive. Perhaps if it's a perfect bell curve then yes maybe using the average is a little harsh. But I would assume you are much more likely to find it skewed towards the first couple years and then tapering off significantly into a tail that will shift the average.

Recruit Prosim

At worst, I'd label it ignorance. But, perhaps it's a situation of dispersed knowledge. Not quite sure naivety is at play.
It took Beamer 7 years to put Tech into a bowl. I'd say we weren't peaking until his 9th year with the Sugar Bowl win.

Not really a fair example since he took over while we had NCAA sanctions

Recruit Prosim

There is zero chance that is accurate. Too many contextual influences to give an indication of a coach's actual ability. That's why ADs need to make their own assessment based on performance and the obstacles coaches have to overcome.

If a coaches doesnt win a NC in 5 years they arent going to win one at that school. I think the last coach to do that was Tom Osborne.

Edit: typing is not my strong suit. I meant to say in like 5 years. I didnt know the exact time If it's 7 years then that handles a lot of the exceptions below. And I am sorry I wasnt clear I believe the stat I had read was BCS + era.

Want to rethink this statement?


Saban and Dabo have each won national championships over 5 years into their tenures.

The Orange and Maroon you see, that's fighting on to victory.

Saban took over LSU in 2000 and won the NC in the 2003 season. He took over Alabama in 2007 and won the NC there in the 2009 season. So Saban won in his 4th year at LSU and 3rd year at Alabama.

Dabo took over for the second half of the 2008 season and won his first NC there in the 2015 season. So it did take Dabo 7 1/2 seasons to win a NC.

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Are we not going to talk about the ones Saban won in 15 and 17, or is the premise that the ones after 5 years don't factor in if they've won one within that 5 year window?

The Orange and Maroon you see, that's fighting on to victory.

No. Nobody is saying you can't win a title after 5 years. I would actually argue if you win a title in your first 5 years, it makes successive titles significantly easier as you've built an elite program.

The premise (Dabo is an exception) is that if you haven't won any championships early (within 5 years was the cutoff they used) that you won't just suddenly get better. You either have it or you don't.

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Tom Osborne: Started as Head coach in 1973. Won first NC in 1980
LaVell Edwards: Started as Head Coach in 1972. Won first NC in 1984
Don James: Started as Head Coach in 1975. Won first NC in 1984.
Bill McCartney: Started as head Coach in 1982. Won first NC in 1990.
Steve Spurrier: Started as head coach in 1990. Won first NC in 1996.
John Cooper: Started as head coach in 1988. Won first NC in 1998.
Phillip Fulmer: Started as Head coach in 1992. Won first NC in 1998.
Butch Davis: Started as head coach in 1995. Won first NC in 2000.
Mack Brown: Started as head coach in 1998. Won first NC in 2005.
Gary Pinkel: Started as head coach in 2001. Won first NC in 2007.
Gary Patterson: Started as head coach in 2000. Won first NC in 2010.
Mike Gundy: Started as head coach in 2005. Won first NC in 2011.

By won, I mean being able to claim one.

Bill McCartney's title doesnt count. I only accept titles that are won with regulation sets of downs.

I could buy a good evaluation of Slick Willie after four. I think he'll need at least three to pull them out of the hole they're in, but I think they'll bounce back in three years to being a 8-10 win team. Losses to Clemson, maybe UF, maybe some random ACC team or a second big OOC team.

The data a few posts below suggests that coaches don't regularly win their first MNC at a school in less than 5 years (exceptions of course exist, Saban, Meyer, etc).

But you're right, I like the 5 year evaluation period. I think it takes five years to truly turn over an entire college football culture, though I think Willie accelerates that a little.

Personally I think 3 is good enough for a first tollgate. You don't need to have achieved your goals but at least be able to show progress hopefully with some improvement, your current plan, and what actions you plan to take to continue to push towards your goals.

Recruit Prosim

There are exceptions to every rule, and we don't have to look far to find one. Beamer failed to reach a bowl in his first 6 seasons, and started a streak of 27 and counting in year #7, and didn't peak until year #13.

Looking at FSUs roster you knew there were going to be issues, their offensive line has sucked for 3+ years. Francois took so many hits his freshman year, it was ridiculous. The fact that Taggert thought he was going to walk in and teach a simple offense that makes everything work instantly was the cherry on top of the ice cream of failure.

Taggart has gotten himself a big mess to clean up and from the article it is bigger than most people thought, but really not unexpected. Lots of big time programs have had the same issues, look at Miami. Erickson caused similar problems, Coker did too. It will be interesting if the FSU money will let him have the time to clean it up.

Sounds suspicious but where was the president and the AD assistant AD ect. This is bull the job of the higher ups are to oversee the program ect . It is as simple as the AD telling the minions working for him I want a weekly or daily
update on the class attendance of the football players and anyone caught covering for them will be disciplined .
You mean all the tutors, teachers ect did not know the problem this was a classic case of institution loss of control pure and simple blaming the guy who is no longer there is convenient but I don't buy it . Yes Fisher was part of it and now is the highest paid Coach in the land but it was with a wink and a nod from a bunch of other people that this took place . Hard telling the creative ways they kept guys eligible and how that was communicated to recruits ect.

Coastal 1

This is often the price of winning in college football.

Let me keep little William as long as possible. So long as he manages to do less with more, it means an easy cross division game every...checks schedule...dammit ACC.

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

That's pretty funny! Sad, but funny!

FSU sucked last year because they didn't have any offensive lineman. As Bill Connelly said:

I was talking to SB Nation's (and Tomahawk Nation's) Bud Elliott about Florida State's 2018 prospects while we were at a conference last August, and he had maybe the most prescient preseason summary of a team that I will ever hear.

Quarterback Deondre Francois was decent, he said, and the Seminoles seemed to have the skill talent they needed to score points in Willie Taggart's first season as head coach. But the depth at offensive tackle that Jimbo Fisher had left for Taggart was terrifying, and if they suffered any injury there, the line would potentially fall apart.

Tackle Landon Dickerson got hurt within days of our conversation. He would end up starting two games all year. Cole Minshew and Derrick Kelly, both experienced interior linemen who had moved to tackle out of desperation, would miss eight games between them. By the end of the year, injury and a total lack of development (by the new staff or the old one) had combined to create maybe the least stable line I've seen. It was certainly one of the least effective.

When your offensive line struggles this much, it prevents you from getting a truly accurate picture of virtually anything else. Francois was under pressure far too much. Cam Akers and the other running backs had no holes to run through.

FSU will be fine long term (like it or not), and they might be as few as 3 years away from notching a regular season win against Clemson. Willie Taggart is a pretty good coach who has been through multiple rebuilds; he's not Derek Dooley at Tennessee.

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You didnt need Bill to tell you how bad there line has been, I said it above just by watching a QB get shell shocked worse than David Carr.

But what makes you think he'll bring FSU back? 247 had them at 19th last year (VT 26th). Taggart hasnt recruited a 5 star ever. There was no magical unicorn recruiting bump that everyone says that happens (though I can only remember Ole Miss where players said they got paid). They are recruit well below FSU levels, the facilities are terrible, I dont think he has a QB, and they are in a sicky part of florida, comparatively. I'm thinking best case he might be Randy Shannon who cleans up the mess but never gets time to build on the good work he did.

But what makes you think he'll bring FSU back?

  • Fertile recruiting ground
  • Athletic dept willing to pay (Maybe not to the degree that UF is, but their athletic dept is better situation than Miami or any other Florida school.
  • None of the P5 Florida schools are that good right now... historically never more than two of them at a time are that great. I'd argue that one is good right now (UF), one is okay (Miami), and FSU is in the worst position. I think FSU could definitely jump Miami, and I believe that just because I think Taggart is a much better coach than Diaz.
  • As I alluded to above, Taggart is the king of the rebuild. I think he's is one of the better coaches in CFB.

Don't get me wrong, I'm selling FSU in the short term - I think 8 wins for FSU this season would be a huge success - but I think in 3-5 years they'll be back. Unless Miami can consistently win the Coastal, or UCF gets brought up to the P5 or makes the playoff as a G5 (all of these scenarios are very unlikely IMO), I think there's room for two good teams in the state of Florida, and I think FSU is well situated to be one of those teams.

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Fertile recruiting ground? FSU is in the arm pit of Florida. It was a desired location because of them winning, not because of actual location. UF and Miami are in much better spots. If you are from south florida then he distance to Tallahassee is not much better than a of better schools from winning and interesting place to be. Taggart had the 19th best class. Doesnt seem to be a big benefit.

Athletic Department isnt paying compared to a lot of the schools. All of Florida's facilities are bad compare to even VT. And we aren't Bama, UGA, LSU, Clemson. UF is just now building an office building for their coaches.

I agree UF is in a better position but I think Mullen has a ceiling less than UF's ceiling. Miami always has issue, but they are recruiting better than FSU right now.

Taggart is a builder not a rebuilder. No one cares how long it takes to make Western Ky good. There is always a perception at the big schools that they shouldn't rebuild. Everyone will say there is talent at FSU so he should win. This is not saying anything about Taggart, this is about the expectations of the donors that don't understand how bad things got. This has happened many times to many good coaches. If FSU doesnt give some one time to fix the issues and doesnt spend the money then they are going to slide the way Bama and USC did in the 90s.

Doesn't matter that Tallahassee is a shithote. They're historically one of the 15 (probably one of the 10) easiest programs to recruit at. Taggart has rebuilt WKU, USF, and turned Oregon around quicker than anyone else.

I still believe that if the boosters give Taggart 3-4 more years that he'll bring FSU to a top 15 finish.

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Only 2 people have recruited at FSU, the guy that built the program and has the record for most FBS wins, and the guy that followed that had recruited at major football schools as the OC beforehand and worked under many of the best recruiting head coaches.

You are implying USF and Western Ky had significant programs prior. He improved the programs while he was there but there weren't pieces to put back together. They weren't rebuilds.

I'm not sure 13-12 the 2 years before him at oregon to 7-6 is a turn around. He didnt have a real recruiting class, there weren't reports of problems like this, and they have money. If you are say 4-8 to 7-6 was a better program turn around than any one then you should have seen what mark dantonio did at MSU after a 3-9 year.

3-4 years FSU has a pretty open schedule for OOC, 1 year with ND, and if both years, They could get 2 FCS and ULM for 2022, lose to Clemson and UF and not play another team with more than 7 wins and get ranked 15th. So sure, I believe he can do that. FSU lost a lot of their talent this year, its going to be interesting if some one beside Akers shows up.

Maybe you and I are misaligned on what qualifies as a 'rebuild.'

  • At WKU, Taggart took over a program that was on a 26 game losing streak, went 2-10 in his first year, and then brought them two straight bowl births.
  • At USF, Taggart took a program from 2-10 to 10-2 (the school's first EVER season with double digit wins) in 4 seasons. Worth noting that there's no way USF lands a former Texas coach without Taggart's efforts (I know, the hire hasn't turned out well, but my point is that USF had the clout to land a coach with a pretty good resume on paper, no way they'd be able to do that without the progress Taggart made in the years prior).
  • Taggart didn't stay at Oregon long enough to make a meaningful turnaround, but from all accounts, when Helfrich left the program the culture lacked accountability, and the roster/scholarships were imbalanced due to a ton of recruiting misses and an over-reliance on JUCOs. Again, Taggart didn't complete the turnaround, but there was a meaningful improvement on the field in year 1, and, by all accounts, a pretty big turnaround in the locker room too.

Taggart's won at two of the most disadvantaged programs in FBS football. I'll concede that he is yet to prove that he can recruit and maintain sustained success at the P5 level, but coaches who turnaround programs at lower levels tend to do well at the P5 level. I started a thread about this on r/CFB over a year ago - can you name a coach who "rebuilt" a G5 program and failed at the P5? We defined "rebuilt" as taking over a program had two or more straight losing seasons before the new coach took over, then achieving double digit wins before leaving. Al Golden was the only head coach anyone could think of who was able to successfully 'rebuild' a G5 program, but failed at the P5 level - and I'd argue that's just because he was such a poor culture fit at Miami. All of this is to say that I think Taggart is a good coach.

If you think that FSU is overrated as a program (aka not a blueblood and/or not a top 12 program) because only two coaches have won there, then I dunno what to tell you. FSU is one of 10 programs that has won a natty since the BCS started, and one of 5 programs that has won twice (tbh idk if LSU should be in there given that they won the two least decisive teams to win a natty, but I digress). They've qualified for the BCS/Playoff on 6 occasions, something that only Alabama and Oklahoma have done. They have the 11th highest all time winning percentage of any P5. They've had 30 players drafted in the past 5 years. In the last 5 years they've had 3 top 5 classes, the 11th best class and the 19th best class.

FSU will be back in the top 25 in 3 years or less, and back in the top 10 in 5 years or less.

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Rebuild implies there was something there before. A return to their winning ways. That doesn't exist at WKy and USF. He was a good coach at those programs and did well but you cant rebuild something from nothing. After 26 straight losses everyone celebrates a 2-10 season. That's not happening at FSU.

I think that FSU is a blue blood but that was built by Bobby Bowden. PSU is a blue blood, but that was all Paterno.

Alabama is a blue blood but had ~20 years of not mattering until Saban got there. USC is a blueblood, but they had 20+ years of not mattering until Pete Caroll got there, and has had some rocky years since he left. Just because a school is a blueblood doesn't mean they can't have a down decade. I can think of maybe 2006 as the closest Michigan has been to a relevant. In the last 20 years they have 1 outright Big10 title (3 total).

FSU has had top classes under Fisher, but that hasn't shown up in their OL.

Being at the blueblood have extra scrutiny that many coaches dont get past even if it's not their fault. I am not doubting Taggerts coaching ability, I am doubting FSU's patience because they don't think the mess he inherited should be that hard to fix.

Guys they will be fine remember they landed (checks 247) 0 QBs and a handful of 3* OTs

Funny...I can't figure out how to post a jpeg for the screenshot I took, but the first time I opened this thread, the ad at the bottom of the original post was a picture of Jimbo a a&m football logo and a message to "Buy Season Tickets Today"

Now finish up them taters; I'm gonna go fondle my sweaters.

I still vividly remember how good I thought last season was going to be when we came out and beat down FSU in their place on opening night....sigh

Now finish up them taters; I'm gonna go fondle my sweaters.

That sounds eerily familiar to the year we beat anOSU...

Except anOSU wan the natty that year and Florida St was abysmal.

(add if applicable) /s