The start to Willie Taggart’s tenure as Florida State’s head coach hasn’t gone according to plan. The program finished 5-7 in 2018 and missed a bowl game for the first time in 36 years, and currently sits at 3-4 in 2019 following last weekend’s loss to Wake Forest. Rumors swirled this week that influential Florida State boosters are preparing to find ways for the program to move on from Taggart and subsequently hire a coach who can compete at the highest level — including former Florida and Ohio State coach Urban Meyer.
Florida State athletic director David Coburn is having none of that, and he made that crystal clear while utilizing one of the more bizarre hypotheticals for this type of scenario — or really any scenario, for that matter.
“If Coach were hit by a bus tomorrow, we would not target Coach Meyer, period,” Coburn told the Tallahassee Democrat. “I say that with all due respect to Coach Meyer, but we would not target Steve Spurrier either.”
As for the future of Taggart, Coburn did his best to shoot down any talk of Taggart being on his way out.
“There is a lot of complete nonsense floating around out there right now, and it is a shame that the Democrat and I even have to address it,” he said. “But, that is the world we live in now. People are looking for clicks, not for real information. Virtually all of this stuff is complete fabrication, and it is particularly disturbing when supposedly responsible publications put this junk out there, and then people start to believe it.”
It’s mid-October, not late November. Coburn clearly wants to stand behind his coach right now. The alternative would do much more harm than good to a once-proud program that is struggling to find its way following Jimbo Fisher’s departure prior to the 2018 season. There’s still a possibility — at least on paper — that the Seminoles can salvage a decent season despite falling 22-20 to Wake Forest last week and 45-14 to rival Clemson two weeks ago.
Will Coburn’s tone change if Florida State finishes up another sub-par regular season with little-to-no hope of things turning around in the future? That remains to be seen. Taggart’s buyout calls for him to be paid 85 percent of the remaining sum of his six-year, $30 million contract that was agreed upon prior to the 2018 season.
Whatever happens with Taggart, it’s clear that Florida State is an afterthought in the ACC title race. That should never happen, no matter who’s coaching the Seminoles.