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FSU HC Willie Taggart says defense ignited team in a blowout performance

A pivotal play by Brian Burns turns the tide for the ‘Noles.

NCAA Football: Wake Forest at Florida State Glenn Beil-USA TODAY Sports

After a slow start saw the Seminoles trailing 10-0, the team finally woke up towards the end of the first quarter following a huge sack from defensive end Brian Burns. Head coach Willie Taggart pointed to this play as the turning point of the game.

“That was big,” Taggart said. “I told Burns after that, he started that to be able to get that sack. That’s just what our team needed, for somebody to make a play for us. Both offense and defense had a slow start. We needed somebody to make a play, and Burns did and got us going a little bit. For us to come out on offense and execute, I think it all started with Burns’ play. Seems like it kind of woke us up— Let’s play ball.”

Following Burns’ sack, his ninth of the year, the offense was able to get going and made notable progression in the run game, an area they have struggled in all season. Sophomore running back Cam Akers rushed for 98 yards, a team high this season. The offensive line played noticeably better on the day, but Taggart says most of Akers’ success in this breakout game was his own doing.

“It’s both,” Taggart said. “But I think it’s a lot more on Cam. Cam had a great week of practice. We hadn’t seen Cam practice the way he did this past week in a long time, and we told him last night, it’s going to pay off. We saw a couple runs in the Miami game where he was kind of getting back to himself and not rushing things and running physical, and he did that tonight.I think it all started in practice. He had the right mindset. He was up there all week, and we said he was going to get better. He started making himself better.”

Taggart is hoping that the team takes notice of Akers’ mindset and can use this win as motivation as they head into the most difficult stretch of their schedule.

“Hopefully not just Cam,” Taggart said. “Hopefully our entire football team sees what he did this past week and the result that he got behind it, and hopefully they take it to it and other guys want to come up and learn more football and practice as hard as he did so they can get the same result that he got behind it. I’m hoping it happens for our entire football team because we preach it all the time about not being compliant, but being committed, and we’re only allowed 20 hours a week with our guys, and that’s not enough time. So these guys that want to be All-American and All-Conference and all, they’ve got to put in some extra work to get better on their own.”

Willie Taggart: Wake Forest Press Conference

Willie Taggart talks to the media following Florida State's dominate homecoming win over Wake Forest.

Posted by on Saturday, October 20, 2018