With the early signing period winding down, Florida State football coach Willie Taggart has shifted his attention to the next item on his bucket list: filling out his coaching staff.
Taggart has reportedly hired three of the 10 coaches he is allowed to bring on his staff, with the 10th falling under a new NCAA rule which begins in January. First was Telly Lockette, who coached under Taggart at South Florida and will coach tight ends. Then, a pair of coaches, Donte’ Pimpleton and Raymond Woodie, were reported to be following Taggart from Oregon to FSU, but those have not been confirmed by the university.. That leaves seven spots to be filled.
Recruits have already mentioned when talking with the media that Taggart has thrown names their way that have not been made official so it’s clear moves are being made behind closed doors. Although Taggart is eager to fill his staff, he wants to make sure hires are the right ones.
“I guess it's not necessarily difficult at a place like this because you have so many talented guys that want to be here,” Taggart said of hiring coaches at FSU. “It's just finding the right fit for what I see and feel for our football program. Once you get to sit down and talk with them all and you hear their philosophy and their values and what they're all about, you can kind of get a sense whether or not that guy's going to be a good fit for what we want to do here football-wise.”
“There are plenty of coaches out there that know Xs and Os, but if we're not touching the hearts and minds of our players and getting them to play hard, those Xs and Os aren't going to matter at all,” Taggart added. “It's got to be the right fit. If not, it's not going to work. If we're not a tight group as a staff, we can't expect our players to be a tight group. It's got to be that way.”
There’s no telling if this last part is in any way based off Jimbo Fisher and his previous staff or just a belief of Taggart’s. Either way, it rings true. Rumors emerged during the 2017 season of in-fighting between FSU coaches and it’s evident that the staff shut down on the recruiting trail late in the Fisher era from what recruits have said since.
With all of this going on, how, as Taggart said, can players be united for the common goal of team success?
Taggart said in an interview with Jeff Cameron of 97.9 ESPN Tallahassee earlier this week that he expects to have his staff filled out by the end of the year. That leaves him a week and a half.
The early signing period threw a wrench in him making too many quick hires as the vast majority of top recruits nationwide elected to sign during the inaugural early period, forcing Taggart to focus more attention there in his first two weeks.
With the period now winding down and the chaotic first day in the rearview mirror, Taggart shifts his attention to filling out his coaching staff, fully realizing the importance of this with National Signing Day looming in early February.